Fallout From The Arizona Court Decision


Published: September - 2004

The shock waves are still being felt from that blockbuster court decision by the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals that removed nonresident quota caps on big game drawings in the State of Arizona. The fallout is especially being felt in the other states covered by the Ninth US Circuit - namely, Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. In case you missed my report last month, after seven years of litigation, including an appeal to the US Supreme Court, the courts finally decided that nonresidents and residents must be treated alike in the big game drawings. This decision eliminated the quotas and caps that were applied to nonresidents and restricted their ability to draw a permit. Such caps are now a violation of the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution, which says, in essence, that a state cannot establish economic barriers for nonresidents in order to keep prices lower for their own residents.

This ruling immediately affected this season's drawings in Arizona. To resolve the problem of noncompliance, Arizona's Commission immediately approved 805 extra permits for this year's deer and elk drawings. The result was that nearly 760 more nonresidents (who were not selected in the initial drawings) ultimately received permits and benefited directly from this decision. Furthermore, although the big game species initially impacted by the decision were deer and elk only, next season you can expect the sheep drawings in Arizona to be administered without the nonresident cap on permits as well. The antelope drawings have never had a nonresident quota applied, so the recent rulings did not alter the way those drawings will be conducted.

It will be interesting to see what happens next in the other states. Already, plaintiffs in the Arizona suit have appeared before the Nevada Game Commission requesting that they conform to the Ninth Circuit Court decision. They were summarily turned down, so they filed suit against the State of Nevada. Since Nevada imposes even more discriminatory restrictions against nonresidents than those already ruled illegal in Arizona, another court decision in favor of nonresidents was assumed. Apparently, the Nevada........(continued)

 
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