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Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife

Supreme Court of the United States

December 3, 1991, Argued ; June 12, 1992, Decided

No. 90-1424


 [*557]  [***362]  [**2135]    JUSTICE SCALIA delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to Parts I, II, III-A, and IV, and an opinion with respect to Part III-B, in which THE CHIEF JUSTICE, JUSTICE WHITE, and JUSTICE THOMAS join.

 This case involves a challenge to a rule promulgated by the Secretary of the Interior interpreting § 7 of the Endangered  [*558]  Species Act of 1973 (ESA), 87 Stat. 892, as amended, 16 U. S. C. § 1536, in such fashion as to render  [****6]  it applicable only to actions within the United States or on the high seas. The preliminary issue, and the only one we reach, is whether respondents here, plaintiffs below, have standing to seek judicial review of the rule.

] The ESA, 87 Stat. 884, as amended, 16 U. S. C. § 1531 et seq., seeks to protect species of animals against threats to their continuing existence caused by man. See generally TVA v. Hill, 437 U.S. 153, 98 S. Ct. 2279, 57 L. Ed. 2d 117 (1978). The ESA instructs the Secretary of the Interior to promulgate by regulation a list of those species which are either endangered or threatened under enumerated criteria, and to define the critical habitat of these species. 16 U. S. C. §§ 1533, 1536. Section 7(a)(2) of the Act then provides, in pertinent part:

"Each Federal agency shall, in consultation with and with the assistance of the Secretary [of the Interior], insure that any action authorized, funded, or carried out by such agency . . . is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered species or threatened species or result in the  [***363]  destruction or adverse modification of habitat of such species which is determined by the Secretary, after consultation as appropriate  [****7]  with affected States, to be critical." 16 U. S. C. § 1536(a)(2).

In 1978, the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce respectively, promulgated a joint regulation stating that the obligations imposed by § 7(a)(2) extend to actions taken in foreign nations. 43 Fed. Reg. 874 (1978). The next year, however, the Interior Department began to reexamine its position. Letter from Leo Kuliz, Solicitor, Department of the Interior, to Assistant Secretary, Fish and Wildlife and Parks, Aug. 8, 1979. A revised joint regulation, reinterpreting  [*559]  § 7(a)(2) to require consultation only for actions taken in the United States or on the high seas, was proposed in 1983, 48 Fed. Reg. 29990, and promulgated in 1986, 51 Fed. Reg. 19926; 50 CFR 402.01 (1991).

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504 U.S. 555 *; 112 S. Ct. 2130 **; 119 L. Ed. 2d 351 ***; 1992 U.S. LEXIS 3543 ****; 60 U.S.L.W. 4495; 92 Cal. Daily Op. Service 4985; 92 Daily Journal DAR 7876; 92 Daily Journal DAR 8967; 22 ELR 20913; 34 ERC (BNA) 1785; 6 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 374


Prior History:  [****1]  On petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

Disposition: 911 F.2d 117, reversed and remanded.


consultation, agencies, species, endangered species, redressability, plurality, regulation, Wildlife, concrete, habitat, projects, animals, funding, respondents', courts, environmental, observe, imminent, injuries, cases, federal agency, endangered, Whaling, parties, Fish, threatened species, district court, promulgated, summary judgment, foreign country

Environmental Law, Natural Resources & Public Lands, Fish & Wildlife Protection, Governments, Agriculture & Food, Animal Protection, International Trade Law, Trade Agreements, Environmental Provisions, Endangered Species, Endangered Species Act, Critical Habitats, Federal Agencies, Species Lists, Administrative Law, Separation of Powers, Legislative Controls, General Overview, International Law, Authority to Regulate, Constitutional Law, The Presidency, The Judiciary, Case or Controversy, Constitutionality of Legislation, Separation of Powers, Civil Procedure, Justiciability, Standing, Elements, Preliminary Considerations, Injury in Fact, Burdens of Proof, Evidence, Burdens of Proof, Allocation, Appeals, Motions on Appeal, Responses, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Motions to Dismiss, Judgments, Summary Judgment, Evidentiary Considerations, Motions for Summary Judgment, Entitlement as Matter of Law, Supporting Materials, Extraterritorial Application, Case & Controversy Requirements, Agency Adjudication, Informal Agency Action, Pleadings, Complaints, Remedies, Injunctions, Permanent Injunctions, Enforcement, Citizen Suits, Constitutional Controls