Delta Smelt/Endangered Species Act Constitutional Challenge

Date Filed: 10/07/2010
Case Status: Active

Stewart & Jasper Orchards v. Salazar

Agricultural groups involved in litigation over the protection of the highly-endangered Delta smelt challenged the constitutionality of the federal protections. Specifically, they alleged that the Fish & Wildlife Service's biological opinion for the Delta smelt, and the Endangered Species Act's prohibition on the take of the species, violate the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Defenders, joined by the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations and the Institute for Fisheries Resources, filed an amicus brief defending the constitutionality of the Endangered Species Act and its application to the Delta Smelt.

In March 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in favor of Defenders and upheld the constitutionality of the ESA. As it has with numerous other challenges to the ESA, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case.

Related Documents

Amicus Brief (10/7/2010)


Defenders of Wildlife
Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Association
Institute for Fisheries Resources