California Lawyer


June 2014

"To preserve the vitally important principle of judicial independence, we are not politically accountable. However, because of our lack of public accountability, our job is constitutionally confined to interpreting laws, not creating them out of whole cloth."

- Circuit Judge Milan D. Smith Jr. dissenting in Karuk Tribe of California v. U.S. Forest Service (681 F.3d 1006, 1041 (9th Cir. 2012)). Smith argued that, under the federal Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. ยงยง 1531-44), an agency's inaction does not trigger the statute's complex interagency consultation process. He said the majority's ruling to the contrary would create bureacuracy like the ropes the tiny Lilliputians used to tie down the title character of Gulliver's Travels.

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