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Judging the Judges

Term Year: 2018

Weyerhaeuser Company, Petitioner v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service

Summary Analysis

DATE: 2018-11-27
DOCKET: 17-71
NAME: Weyerhaeuser Company, Petitioner v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service

   AUTHOR: Roberts
   JOINING: Breyer, Thomas, Ginsburg, Alito, Gorsuch, Sotomayor, Kagan, Kavanaugh
   GOOD: No

Case Commentary

Given the definition of a Term of Art:
    Term of Art
        Definition One, or
        Definition Two
It hardly makes sense to bypass the legal meaning as set forth in the definition and ask 'But what does Art mean?' or 'What is Art?' and then go on to talk about the works of the Old Masters.

Specific to this case, we have a definition:
    Critical Habitat
        Habitat, or
        Critical Land
And the court goes on to decide that Critical Land cannot be Critical Habitat, for it is not Habitat in the first place; but rather, only Land.

Thus, I disagree with Part A of The Court's analysis.

As to Part B, this is of lessor concern. At the heart of it, I question whether there is a meaningful difference in the moment between something that is 'unreviewable' and something that has 'no merit' (and thus, unworthy of review).

    Unreviewable v. Unreviewable as Argued

Thus, I am little concerned by the lower court's blanket refusal to review... even if I am sure The Supreme Court is technically correct (and the lower court must review). However, upon remand (as the case was vacated and remanded), I question whether the lower court is under obligation to do much more than listen to the testimony prior to deciding the evidence is without merit, which is likely exactly what they did when reading the complaint in the first place.

All in all, I care little about the second part of the case... and I doubt The Supreme Court did either.

While in regards to the first part, they are just plain wrong. And here, we have essentially the opposite outcome as the first case of the year. There, simple language was interpreted correctly; while here, it is interpreted incorrectly.

It is, of course, highly probably I am looking at an incomplete picture. But then, I am drawing all of my information from The Supreme Court's Slip, so it's their own fault if The Court's argument is poorly stated or incomplete.

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