Cetacean Community v. Bush
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
386 F.3d 1169 (2004)
The United States Navy (the government) (defendant) used low-frequency sonar during wartimes and raised-threat situations. The Cetacean Community (the community) (plaintiff) comprised all the world’s whales, porpoises, and dolphins. The name was coined by the community’s self-appointed attorney. The community sued the government, claiming that the use of sonar violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by harming the community. The government filed a motion to dismiss. The ESA granted “any person” the right to sue under the statute. Included in the ESA’s definition of “person” were individuals, corporations, governments, and other entities within the jurisdiction of the United States. The definition did not include animals. Similarly, the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) conferred standing on persons and did not include animals within that definition. The district court granted the motion to dismiss on the ground that the community did not have standing under either the ESA or the APA. The community appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Fletcher, J.)
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