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Dodging a Legal Bullet? No, it's still flying!
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to order a lower court to allow a lawsuit by -- get this -- whales and dolphins -- against our President. OK, that sounds as if it is a reasonable and wise decision. I beg to differ. It is the correct holding, the correct result. The decision itself shows why the extreme left is so loony. In Cetacean Community v. Bush, 2004 U.S. App. LEXIS 21754 (October 20, 2004), the panel stated the following:
"It is obvious that an animal cannot function as a plaintiff in the same manner as a juridically competent human being. But we see no reason why Article III [of the Constitution] prevents Congress from authorizing a suit in the name of an animal, any more than it prevents suits brought in the name of artificial persons such as corporations, partnerships or trusts, and even ships, or of juridically incompetent persons such as infants, juveniles, and mental incompetents."
Seems innocuous at first blush. Read it again. A document that establishes the rights of people has been interpreted in that Circuit as implicitly allowing animals the right to sue! The extremists and terrorists in the "Animal Rights" contingent must be preparing a party, complete with Tofu, cloth shoes, lots of veggies and champagne! Unless the Supreme Court grants Certorari to this case, and definitely establishes a boundary, the bullet we apparently dodged is still flying and looking for a heart to pierce.
This ruling is narrow enough to let the "fur fly," so to say. For example, the holding basically restricts animals from suing for statutory violations where the word "person" is used to define who may be a plaintiff. Will we see the left start to use more generic words in legislation that gives the right to sue? For example "A person may sue under this statute if..." may become "One may sue under this statute if..."
Moreover, what about the Constitution? The Seventh Amendment states: "In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law." By the logic in Ceteacean, animals now have the right to a jury trial in any common law matter over $20!
So you tell me: How long will it be before Pamela Anderson sues KFC in the name of the chickens that the billboards claim are scalded alive and debeaked painfully? Wrongful death, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and other torts are generally held at the common law. Can the Taco Bell dog maintain a common law suit for misappropriation of its likeness? Will PETA file a civil rights class action on behalf of the elephants at Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus? Can Dobermans and Boxers file a class action for the docking of tails and/or ears?
This holding would be hilarious were it not so scary. This is the crack in the door that the ARís need in order to impose their wildly radical view of the world upon the rest of us. These wild activist courts are the enablers of the Tyranny of the Minority. This is the poster child case for the proposition that strict constructionist judges are so very important to reasonable law and order.