Drakes Bay Oyster Company is asking the United States Supreme Court to hear its case. At issue is no less than a citizen’s right to fight for justice. Read the Petition for Writ of Certiorari to learn more about the legal principles at stake and why this case is important for anyone who cares about the environment. Read our press release here.
In reviewing the denial of the farm’s permit, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that a federal court does not have jurisdiction to determine whether that decision is arbitrary and capricious or an abuse of discretion.
In his decision denying a new permit for the oyster farm, Secretary Salazar did abuse his discretion by misinterpreting the law he relied on, and by making false statements. He wrote that issuing the permit would “violate” the law, even though Congress had passed a law in 2009 authorizing him to issue the permit “notwithstanding any other provision of law.” He thought the “intent of Congress” in the Point Reyes Wilderness Act was for the oyster farm to shut down, when in fact, as the dissenting judge (Judge Paul Watford) concluded, “all indications are that Congress viewed the oyster farm as a beneficial, pre-existing use whose continuation was fully compatible with wilderness status.”
If allowed to stand, the Ninth Circuit’s ruling would set a dangerous precedent, denying citizens the right to fight arbitrary or abusive government decisions.
It will take months for the high court to make its decision.