The momentum in David B. Terk v. James S. Lane, Jr. individually and as Director of the Department of Game and Fish, State of New Mexico, et al. has surged forward. The Terk case in New Mexico is where discrimination against nonresidents in license allocations for bighorn sheep, oryx and ibex was held by the Federal District Court to be in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution. The original Terk case was filed in 1974 and decided in 1977. It was largely based upon the sworn deposition of the director of wildlife at the time that the preference of residents over nonresidents was for the sole and knowing purpose of discrimination. The 1977 court decision was challenged before and yours truly was engaged by David Terk, a respected international hunter and contributor to Conservation Force, to oppose the motion by the state to overturn the judgment providing equal license allocation for nonresidents. We won that round, but now New Mexico has, more than a decade later, filed a second motion to overturn the judgment. Yours truly was served with notice as on-the-record counsel for David Terk, who died more than a decade ago.
While we have been undecided what to do, numerous organizations and states have filed to be intervenors or file amicus briefs in support of the motion to overturn the Terk equal rights decision. Those include the state of Oregon Wildlife Commission; State of Colorado Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife; Idaho Department of Fish and Game; State of Utah; State of Wyoming; International Association of Game, Fish and Conservation Commissions; United Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, Inc.; New Mexico Chapter of Wild Sheep Foundation and the Southern New Mexico Chapter of SCI. More are expected. No one is defending the civil rights of nonresidents.
The motion claims that new case law precedent in Wyoming, Schultz v. Thorne, 415 F.3d 1128 (2005), that included an equal protection claim, is now the law. The New Mexico motion neglects to mention the deposition of the New Mexico director that was taken under oath or the different factual bases for the discrimination in Wyoming. Moreover, Wyoming has a notorious history of discrimination.
In light of the looming one-sided fight and in honor of the memory of David B. Terk, we have tentatively decided to defend the decision and stand against the onslaught. On the deadline of August 12th, we filed a motion to substitute the co-executrixes of the David B. Terk estate, his two daughters Kimberly and Kristin, as plaintiffs in the reopened case. We are preparing to defend the Terk decision. This will be handled separate and apart from all other Conservation Force matters. Let there be no confusion, we are only defending this one case, not reopening the nonresidents rights initiative. We are only defending the Terk decision if we can get funding support. Kimberly Terk Murphy has pledged a fair sum, but we need $10,000 to $15,000 more to cover costs. Conservation Force is accepting earmarked donations for the “Terk Equal Protection Case” and only in defense of that Terk case – not other nonresident discrimination matters. We have about one month to raise the sum needed. Tax deductible donations can be sent to Conservation Force at PO Box 278, Metairie, LA 70004-0278.