SeaWorld sues California Coastal Commission over breeding rules

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

SeaWorld filed the suit Tuesday in California Superior Court in San Diego, alleging that the state panel does not have the authority to impose a "no-breeding" condition on the construction project that would more than double the enclosure size for the park's 11 killer whales.

Read more from The LA Times.

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Jeff's avatar

I'm not a lawyer, but this seems like a slam dunk, as I the commission's charter doesn't seem to have any provision at all that gives them this kind of jurisdiction. They're essentially an over-glorified zoning board.

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Tekwardo's avatar

Yeah breeding and permission to build are separate things all together. This Goulding go thru and SW should definitely come out on top.

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Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

The CA Coastal Commission is used to bullying it's way around, and in this case they went too far, as they are trying to usurp federal oversight. The commissioners that approved this are going to get a lot of egg on their faces when this is over and done.

In my experience, government agencies having egg on their faces doesn't tend to be a concern for those in government (particularly at the local level which tends to be filled with people on power trips who never got over being on student government in high school). Accountability. Customer relations. Tend not to be hallmarks of much in government.

To the extent this particular governmental agency overstepped its authority, it certainly isn't the first and won't be the last. But something interesting that I have noticed over the years is that views about overstepping authority tend to coincide with views about the underlying issue itself. So I would expect to see folks who are against Sea World and what it does disregarding any authority overstep in support of what the commission did here. Type of ends justifies the means approach. And those who support what Sea World does will be much more quick to find government overreach. Not calling out anyone in this thread or on this board. Just stating overall tendencies.

Same thing happens with "judge made law." As a matter of history and really necessity, judges have been "legislating from the bench" pretty much since we had judges. Its called the common law. We still live by a lot of it every day. And as a practical matter, its necessary. There are a lot of gap fillers that are needed in statutory law. Its not practical to go back to legislatures on a daily basis asking for gap fillers. So judges fill in the gaps. And "rights" apply to the minority. The majority doesn't need rights because it can do what it wants. Legislatures aren't well equipped necessarily to handle the minority and thus courts must step in.

All that judge made law is fine and works well. But a judge makes law with which someone disagrees and cries are heard about the evils of legislating from the bench. Not really the issue but rather simply that a judge made law I don't like. Very different argument than judges shouldn't legislate from the bench.

Points being that (1) I don't the commission cares much about what the public or any court may say about its decision here (though it will be bound to follow a court's order -- even though some government officials may want to and do ignore it) and (2) folks who agree with what the commission did will tend to look past any authority overstep.

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