Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied an appeal by Central California farmers who claimed the federal government lacks constitutional authority to protect the imperiled delta smelt by limiting north-to-south water shipments.

Three San Joaquin growers challenged the government’s use of the Endangered Species Act to protect a fish that exists only in California and has no commerical value.


In March, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that the law is constitutional because preserving rare wildlife from extinction is a form of economic regulation that is part of Congress’ constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce.


The Pacific Legal Foundation, a property-rights organization that represented the growers, said it would continue to fight restrictions on water shipments. Brandon Middleton, foundation attorney, stated that, “this is a long term battle to stop federal intrusion that robs people of their livelihoods and liberties.”


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Posted 11/1/2011