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Connecticut v. Department of Commerce

Citation: 30 ELR 20343
No. No. 99-6170, 204 F.3d 413/(2d Cir., 02/25/2000)

The court affirms a district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC), finding that its denial of Connecticut's petition for rulemaking under the Magnuson-Stevens Act was not arbitrary or capricious and was consistent with all relevant law. Connecticut sought to replace the summer flounder fishery management plan's state-by-state quota system with a coastwide quota system. The court first affirms the district court's decision upholding the DOC's denial of Connecticut's request. The reasons provided by the district court are more than adequate to support the result reached. The court then declines to express a view on Connecticut's constitutional challenges to the validity of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. These challenges were not raised before the district court, and any such immediate consideration would make difficult an adequate treatment of the complex questions at stake and would not be in the best interest of the parties or of the administration of justice. To the extent that Connecticut's arguments depend on a reading of the statute that is unnecessary to the district court's result, the state's claims are premature. In addition, to the extent that the standing issues at stake involve factual determinations, the court is necessarily handicapped by not having full findings as to these facts from the district court. The court notes, however, that some of Connecticut's constitutional arguments could be considered directly on appeal. Moreover, the state is in no way precluded from raising, in an appropriately made facial challenge to the statute, any of the constitutional claims the court opts not to consider in this decision.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Richard Blumenthal, Attorney General
Attorney General's Office
55 Elm St., Hartford CT 06141
(860) 808-5318

Counsel for Defendant
James F. Simon
Environment and Natural Resources Division
U.S. Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 514-2000

Before Walker and Katzmann, JJ.