Law School Case Brief
Andrus v. Allard - 444 U.S. 51, 100 S. Ct. 318 (1979)
50 C.F.R. § 21.2(a)(1978) provides: Migratory birds, their parts, nests, or eggs, lawfully acquired prior to the effective date of Federal protection under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act may be possessed or transported without a Federal permit, but may not be imported, exported, purchased, sold, bartered, or offered for purchase, sale, trade, or barter. 50 C.F.R. § 22.2 (a) (1978) provides: Bald eagles, alive or dead, or their parts, nests, or eggs lawfully acquired prior to June 8, 1940, and golden eagles, alive or dead, or their parts, nests, or eggs lawfully acquired prior to October 24, 1962, may be possessed, or transported without a Federal permit, but may not be imported, exported, purchased, sold, traded, bartered, or offered for purchase, sale, trade or barter.
Appellee artifact owner possessed artifacts composed of feathers of currently protected birds, but the artifacts existed before the statutory protections of the Eagle Protection Act (Eagle Act), 16 U.S.C.S. § 668(a), and Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), 16 U.S.C.S. § 703, came into force. Appellee was prosecuted for violations of the Eagle Act and the MBTA by appellant Secretary of the Interior (Secretary). Appellee brought suit and alleged that the statutes did not forbid the sale of appellee's artifacts insofar as the constituent birds' parts were obtained prior to the effective dates of the statutes. The district court agreed. Appellant Secretary of the Interior challenged the decision.
Did the statutes in question forbid the sale of appellee’s artifacts insofar as the birds obtained prior the effective dates of the statutes?
The Court held that Congress expressly dealt with the problem of pre-existing bird products in the Eagle Act by qualifying the general prohibition with the proviso that it was not prohibited to possess or transport parts taken prior to the effective date of coverage. The Court held that while the MBTA contained no explicit exception for the possession or transportation of parts obtained before it became effective, the Secretary's interpretative regulations of that enactment were supported by the text, context, and purpose of the MBTA.
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