COURT RULES THAT CONSTITUTION DOES NOT EMPOWER FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO REGULATE A THREATENED SPECIES LIVING ONLY WITHIN ONE STATE
A federal district court in Utah has ruled in People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service that Congress’s constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce does not enable the federal government to regulate under the Endangered Species Act a species that lives entirely in one state and that has no substantial effect on interstate commerce. Five appellate courts, the Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, Eleventh, and D.C. Circuits, have previously ruled otherwise with respect to other intrastate species, but the law has remained uncertain since those decisions have not been without dissent and they have offered differing rationales. If the latest ruling is appealed, it will give the Tenth Circuit, and perhaps ultimately the Supreme Court, an opportunity to weigh in.