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Point Reyes National Seashore Oyster Farm To Take Case To U.S. Supreme Court


Owners of an oyster company that can't get their lease at Point Reyes National Seashore renewed are pledging to take their case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Drakes Bay Oyster Co. owner Kevin Lunny, who was sure the full 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals would hear his case against the Interior Department, made that announcement late Tuesday after the 9th Circuit refused to take up the case.

“We believe the Court’s decision not to rehear our case is incorrect, and that the dissenting opinion from Judge (Paul) Watford will prevail,” said Mr. Lunny in a prepared statement. “Because of that, we are requesting our case be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. We are grateful for our thousands of supporters, partners, customers and patrons that have supported our small, family-owned farm for four generations. We remain committed to succeeding in our fight to remain open and serve our community.”

The matter revolves around then-Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's decision in November 2012 not to extend the company's lease to farm oysters in the national seashore's Drakes Estero. In 1976, when Congress passed the Point Reyes National Seashore Wilderness Act, it directed that the estero fall within officially designated wilderness once all non-conforming uses were removed from its waters. The oyster company, whose lease ran out in November 2012, was the last non-conforming use.

Drakes Bay sued over Mr. Salazar's decision, arguing that it was arbitrary and capricious and violated both the federal government's Administrative Procedures Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.

Courts have refused to agree with the company, however.

Last February, a U.S. District Court judge refused to issue an injunction that would have allowed the company to continue farming oysters while pursuing its lawsuit against the federal government. Mr. Lunny's attorneys then asked the 9th Circuit to enjoin the Park Service. But last September, in a 2-1 ruling, a three-judge panel from the 9th Circuit also refused to grant the request.

That prompted Drakes Bay to request an "en blanc," or full court, hearing of its request. On Tuesday that request was denied.


No consitutional question involved, which is why it is doubtful that SCOTUS will get involved.

Doesn't have to be a Constitutional issue.

" The Court has appellate jurisdiction (the Court can hear the case on appeal) on almost any other case that involves a point of constitutional and/or federal law."

But I do agree it is unlikely to be heard given the extremely small percentage of cases that ask to be heard that actually get heard. Doesn't make the decision right, but it would make it final. If it does get heard, I like the farm's chances given the Ninth Circuits dismal record at the Supreme Ct.

BTW - the article sited above is incorrect.

But the farm had the same deal as all the surrounding ranches: a renewable lease and decades-old assurances from the federal government that they are part of the agricultural heritage the seashore was created to protect.

The oyster farm had no such deal. The buyers of the oyster farm were repeatedly told their lease would not be renewed. In 2005, before they purchased the farm, they were told that NPS would not renew their lease in 2012. They chose to take their chances. Documentation shows that, despite the warning (and forewarning) they chose to purchase the business. Congress reitereated their position: NPS should make the final decision. NPS did, and did not renew the lease. There is nothing illegal nor unconstitutional about the decision, as the 9th circuit found.

ec, you amuse me to no end. Thank you for that.

And trailadvocate, I'm guessing either the constitution changes meaning or SCOTUS changes their interpretation. There are no other explanations for the reversals of their own cases over the years. So which is it?

There is no constitutional question in this case. The NPS director had a decision to make. He made it. Some people didn't like it. No consitutional question involved, which is why it is doubtful that SCOTUS will get involved. But if you find one, please enlighten me.

How does this PRNS strategy line up with the Constitution?

Yep, seems like the mob is ganging up on you, ecbuck. Following the Constitution, what a concept. Activism gone over the line at Point Reyes. Leave the Oystermen alone.

I have a better idea. Lets appoint/elect judges that will follow the Constitution. We already have one "magistrate general" that has a pen and telephone and thinks that is all he needs.

Let's just do away with courts and appoint ec as magistrate general.


That was a hypothetical example. Its starts with the word "if". It was making the point that what is reviewed is a sampling of the whole. The numbers themself were insignificant.

The reality is, quite contrary to your claim, the Ninth Court is overturned at a meaningfully higher rate than virtually any other Circuit Court and the bar association numbers show that.

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