John J. Jackson, III (JJJ): We were waiting for the best strategic opportunity but have had to act sooner because New Mexico has reopened what's called the Terk case, which is the leading federal court case that prohibits discrimination against non-residents. They are trying to overturn that hallmark decision that was rendered against New Mexico for discrimination against non-residents 20 years ago. If they are successful, all hope for any protection whatsoever in the courts will be lost. The issue is whether non-resident sportsmen will have any rights or protection of any kind whatsoever under the The Constitution.
USHR: So, if New Mexico wins they can increase prices and reduce opportunity for non-residents to any extent they want, even on public land?
JJJ: It is worse than that. They are claiming that under the U.S. Constitution they can totally eliminate non-residents as they will. They can wholly exclude non-residents from hunting or fishing on federal lands in New Mexico even when the sole justification and/or motive is to hoard the resources for residents. They can discriminate for the very purpose of discrimination simply because the residents want them to. If the Attorney General of New Mexico wins his case, then there is no protection whatsoever afforded by federal law. Conservation Force felt compelled to take this case, but we need everyone's support or the whole cause may be lost.
USHR: Since New Mexico needs non-resident dollars, what are the probable results of our losing the case?
JJJ: Because it is the leading federal case, everyone, everywhere in the U.S., will be impacted, not just those who want to hunt in New Mexico as a non-resident. If we lose, all state authorities will have a total license to discriminate. State game departments themselves may be among the victims, as they will be more vulnerable to the political........(continued)