Tuesday, November 10, 2009

National Parks v. Kaiser Eagle Mountain (9th Cir. - Nov. 10, 2009)

Here's a quick quiz for the afternoon. It's an incredibly easy one, so if you fail it, you should give yourself a serious spanking, and study some more regarding who's who on the Ninth Circuit.

Judges Pregerson, Paez and Trott are drawn for an environmental law case. There's a majority opinion and a dissent. Judge Pregerson writes one of 'em, and Judge Trott write the other.

Who's the author of the following, which are in the first and final paragraphs of his opinion:

"What sane person would want to attempt to acquire property for a landfill? Our well-meaning environmental laws have unintentionally made such an endeavor a fool’s errand. This case is yet another example of how daunting — if not impossible — such an adventure can be. Ulysses thought he encountered fearsome obstacles as he headed home to Ithaca on the Argo, but nothing that compares to the “due process” of unchecked environmental law. Not the Cyclops, not the Sirens, and not even Scylla and Charybdis can measure up to the obstacles Kaiser has faced in this endeavor. . . .

I end with the Technical Advisory Panel’s evaluation: “the proposed Eagle Mountain Landfill could well become one of the world’s safest landfills and a model for others to emulate.” Don’t hold your breath."

Does that sound like Judge Pregerson, or Judge Trott?

Read the entire 87 pages of this one to figure out the answer. Which, coincidentally, is an entirely appropriate punishment if you don't know enough already to figure out who's who.

POSTSCRIPT - I definitely can't take credit for the following, by the way, but a reader in black robes e-mailed me to mention that Ulysses wasn't on the Argo. And to chide me -- and rightly so -- for not catching it. My bad. Though, in retrospect, yeah, I totally knew this story (at least in vague terms), so wonder why I skipped over that. I even knew about the Sirens and the Cyclops (though had forgotten about Scylla and Charybdis). Also funny that Judge Trott knows all this stuff but still makes the error. I put that down to a temporary mental block, and am sure we'll see an amendment. (Which also leads me to wonder if Pregerson and Paez's chambers made the same oversight that I did, or whether they noticed the error in the dissent but decided not to mention it. Which would be totally harsh.)