Litigation Counsel Doug Burdin recently presented oral argument to the Ninth Circuit on SCI’s appeal of the dismissal of its challenge to California’s mountain lion import ban. He was accompanied at the hearing by Nevada attorney Linda Linton, a member of the SCI Legal Task Force who serves as local counsel on the case.
After the California federal district court dismissed SCI’s complaint, SCI appealed the ruling to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. During oral argument, SCI argued that the import ban violates the Dormant Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Specifically, SCI claimed that (1) the import ban creates a substantial impact on interstate commerce through, among other things, the commerce that is lost when Californians forego out-of-state mountain lion hunts; and (2) the State lacks any legitimate interest in the ban as it does nothing to advance wildlife or habitat conservation in the state. SCI’s arguments detailed that, but for the import ban, California hunters would travel to other western states, purchase mountain lion hunts, engage the services of outfitters, buy equipment and food, and ship their legally hunted lions into California.
SCI asked the Court to allow it to get to the next phase of the case—further discovery and presentation of the facts in support of its legal claims. SCI is now awaiting the Ninth Circuit’s ruling.