Drakes Estero is large marine estuary along the northern California coast about twenty-five miles north of San Francisco. It was so named because it is believed that Sir Francis Drake landed there in 1579 during his historic circumnavigation of the world and today is considered to be a National Historic Landmark and part of the National Park Service.
In 1972, Drakes Bay Oyster Company received permit to open their oyster farm in Drakes Estero area. The Reservation of Use and Occupancy permit was granted to them by the National Park Service with an expiration date of November 30, 2012, but it contained a provision allowing the NPS to issue a Special Use Permit to the oyster farm after the initial Reservation of Use and Occupancy permit expired.
Four years after Drakes Bay Oyster Company opened their business, Congress designated the Drakes Estero as a ‘potential wilderness.’ Then in 2005, Drakes Bay Oyster Company was informed that the National Park Service was not going to renew their permits to operate. The NPS cited the 1964 Wilderness Act along with the 1976 potential wilderness designation as their reasons.
However, in 2009, Congress took measures to allow the business to continue to operate by authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to issue them a Special Use Permit ‘notwithstanding any other provision of law.’ Knowing their deadline was approaching, Drakes Bay Oyster Company applied for the Special Use Permit in 2010.
In typical Obama administration style, Interior Secretary Salazar waited until the day before their current permit expired to deny the Special Use Permit to the Drakes Bay Oyster Company. With the help of the Pacific Legal Foundation, they took their case to the courts.
First the District Court in Oakland denied their case so they appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the most liberal federal court in the nation. Last week, the 9th Circuit also denied their lawsuit. Both courts ruled that they have no jurisdiction to rule on the matter citing that federal bureaucrats like the Secretary of the Interior were given unlimited powers by Congress to make such arbitrary decisions as to deny the oyster farm’s permit without any reason whatsoever.
The Pacific Legal Foundation is now drafting an amicus brief to present to the US Supreme Court in hopes that they will hear their case and overrule Salazar’s destructive decision. They intend to point out that Congress ruled that they were eligible for the Special Use Permit that Salazar is denying them.
Since when did any court in the land claim they have no jurisdiction over any decision made by any government department or employee? The courts have repeatedly struck down laws passed by a majority of the people and passed by state and federal legislatures. Some courts have been making rulings against the US Constitution of which there is no higher law in the land. So how can they say they have no jurisdiction over any Cabinet member?
The 9th Circuit’s ruling basically declares that all of Obama’s Cabinet members can make any arbitrary decision they want, even ones that counter acts of Congress and there is nothing the courts will do to stop them. This is very dangerous grounds. It’s bad enough having a president and attorney general who assume dictatorial powers but now to realize that Obama’s entire Cabinet has them too is really scary and extremely dangerous.