Nat'l Assoc. of Home Builders v. Defenders of Wildlife
- Case Date: 2/20/2007
- Project Name: Environmental Law Project
On June 25, 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned an appeals court decision that had threatened to transform the Endangered Species Act (ESA) into a "super" statute whose provisions should be interpreted in all instances to trump all other federal laws. The decision was a victory for WLF, which filed a brief urging reversal. The Court agreed with WLF that Congress did not intend the ESA to supersede other laws that mandate specific actions, simply because some fear that those actions might cause harm to an endangered species. The Court ruled 5-4 that when, as was true here, the ESA appears to conflict with other provisions of federal law, courts should harmonize the statutes in a manner that attempts to give meaning to both. The Court ruled that the federal agencies whose actions were challenged in this case arrived at a reasonable interpretation of apparently conflicting statutes, and that the appeals court should have deferred to that reasonable interpretation.
More Information and Downloads:
2/20/2007: Download the Brief
Litigation Update: Supreme Court Reins in Endangered Species
Press Release: Court Urged to Rein in Endangered Species Act