X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Lanny Sinkin, the Hawaii attorney who recently lost a bid to have the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals grant legal standing to the world’s whales, dolphins and porpoises, says he was a victim of bad timing. Had the presidential election not been so close, and the country not so politically polarized, Sinkin said, the panel of judges would have gone in his favor. But giving whales the right to halt government sonar testing would have been another ruling along the lines of taking “under God” out of the Pledge of Allegiance, he said. “I think I lost because if the Ninth Circuit came out and said whales can sue [President] Bush, every talk show would trash this court,” said Sinkin, of the Rainbow Friends Animal Sanctuary in Hilo, Hawaii. Sinkin said the three-judge panel — Senior Judges Procter Hug Jr. and Arthur Alarcon and Judge William Fletcher — appeared to like his oral arguments, and he left their courtroom Feb. 12 feeling confident. But the judges found a way to go against him. “This decision is judicial activism at its worst,” Sinkin said. According to environmentalists, military sonar kills and injures cetaceans. The Natural Resources Defense Council successfully blocked some use of the technology, but warned this summer that sonar still threatens ocean mammals. In his complaint, filed in Cetacean Community v. Bush, 04 C.D.O.S. 9331, Sinkin says a friendship between humans and cetaceans could help both communities but warns that the current administration wants to keep people and whales from becoming closer. The filing is written from the animals’ point of view: “We, the Cetacean Community, come to this honorable court to offer what we consider a gift, not a complaint.” That may sound a little strange even for the supposedly wacky 9th Circuit, but the legal standing of animals and inanimate objects has long been controversial. Environmentalists sometimes list non-humans as plaintiffs, but usually they also include human organizations to ensure standing. University of Southern California Law School professor Christopher Stone — author of “Should Trees Have Standing? And Other Essays on Law, Morals and the Environment” — says the opinion, although it declined to give cetaceans the right to seek redress in court, does have a silver lining. “It does acknowledge that animals at least could constitutionally have standing,” Stone said. “That’s a major step.”

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

 
Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.

 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.