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Tulare County v. Bush

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
306 F.3d 1138 (D.C. Cir. 2002), cert. denied, 540 U.S. 813 (2003)


In 2000, the president of the United States (president) (defendant) established the Giant Sequoia National Monument (monument) by proclamation, under the authority of the Antiquities Act (Act), 16 U.S.C. § 431. The monument encompassed 327,769 acres of land in California’s Sequoia National Forest, including giant sequoia trees and their surrounding ecosystem. Tulare County (county) (plaintiff) owned land within and near the monument. The county, along with public and private entities that used the monument area for business and recreational purposes (plaintiffs), sought declaratory and injunctive relief against the president and the federal government (defendant) in district court. The plaintiffs claimed that the monument proclamation violated the Act and the Property Clause of the United States Constitution. The district court dismissed the complaint, finding that only a facial review was appropriate. The plaintiffs appealed, arguing that the monument proclamation violated the Act by (1) failing to identify objects of historic or scientific interest with reasonable specificity; (2) designating nonqualifying objects for protection under the Act, such as ecosystems and scenic vistas; (3) not confining the monument’s size to the smallest area necessary for proper care and management of the protected objects, as required by the Act; and (4) increasing the likelihood that the protected objects by the Act would be harmed by fire. The plaintiffs also claimed that the proclamation violated the National Forest Management Act of 1976 (NFMA) by unlawfully withdrawing land from the national-forest system.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Rogers, J.)

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