October 1 Arguments: Dusky Gopher Frog Goes to Court

Even with most courtwatchers’ eyes on the Kavanaugh nomination, the Supreme Court heard arguments this past week. On Monday, October 1, the first day of the Term, the Court first heard argument in Mount Lemmon Fire Dist. v. Guido an age discrimination case, addressing the narrow issue of whether the Age Discrimination in Employment Act applies to political subdivisions with fewer than 20 employees. More information is available at CNBC.

In Weyerhaeuser Company v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service takes a look at the efforts to protect the dusky gopher frog under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). ISCOTUSnow detailed this case about back in January, which centers on whether the ESA prohibits private land from being marked as “unoccupied critical habitat” even though it is not currently being used by an endangered species. The case also prevents a “Chevron Doctrine” issue, whether the agency’s decision regarding the designation of habitats is something the courts can review.

Fox News reports the attorney for Weyerhaeuser argued that designating its land as unoccupied critical habitat would cost the company tens of millions. Justice Sonia Sotomayor pointed out that generally if land is so designated, the agency and the owners come to an accommodation. Chief Justice John Roberts was concerned about the limit on what the government could do in making the landowners restore the lands into habitats. Justice Breyer, on the other hand, appeared more comfortable with the government’’s ability to “make the call.” Check out The Economist, The Washington Post, and Bloomberg for more information on this case.  

Monday was also the 25th anniversary of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg sitting on the bench. Chief Justice John Roberts began the term by wishing her “many more years of service in our common calling.”

This post was drafted by ISCOTUS Fellow Clayburn Arnold, edited by ISCOTUS Editorial Coordinator Matthew Webber, and overseen by ISCOTUS Co-Director Carolyn Shapiro.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *