Tag Archives: Supreme Court

Lobster wars

Burned out fishing boats, thousands of pounds of dumped, dead lobsters and allegations of a booming black market for the popular crustacean have drawn federal investigators to Nova Scotia’s most lucrative fishing grounds in the lead-up to lobster season. Tensions have been running high in recent weeks along the small wharves in the communities that dot St. Mary’s Bay, a well-known breeding ground for lobsters during the summer. While conservation laws prevent lobster fishers from harvesting the shellfish during breeding season in order to safeguard stocks, stunned locals watched thousands of pounds of lobsters that appeared to be commercial loads pass over their docks though the summer months. click here to read the story 10:53

NOAA Fisheries rule should alarm taxpayers

NOAA Fisheries has discovered a devious way to increase their budget without the checks and balances guaranteed by our forefathers, and the courts have let it stand. I have been involved in a lawsuit with NOAA Fisheries over who pays for at-sea monitors (ASM) for the last three years. These are basically our own personal state police men who ride along on the boat and watch and record everything fishermen do at sea. Fishermen have been forced to sign contracts with for-profit third-party companies that provide this service for $710 per day. Recently, the Supreme Court refused to hear our case, effectively ending our pursuit of justice. Readers should be concerned, not only because this job-killing regulation effects their ability to obtain local seafood, but also because the loss leaves in place a precedent that will allow regulatory agencies to tax citizens by passing regulations while bypassing Congress. click here to read the op-ed 08:56

Groundfishermen: ‘It feels like we’re just forgotten’ – Fishermen who followed Goethel’s path through the federal courts said they were disappointed with the outcome. Goethel said he was “disillusioned” by the process. “Talk about feeling forgotten,” said Jamie Driscoll, a commercial fisherman from Kingston. “That’s how it feels. It feels like we’re just forgotten.” click here to read the op-ed 

 

Why are fishermen guilty until proven innocent? A case against putting video cameras on every boat

As many of you may know, my husband filed a lawsuit against the National Marine Fisheries Service to stop them from requiring the fishermen to pay for the At-Sea monitors that the Fisheries Service requires ground fishermen to take on their boats. The cost is upwards of $700 a day, which is more than the small family owned fishing boats make here in New England. The Supreme Court decided not to hear their case which the lower courts had dismissed on a technicality because the suit was not filed within a 30 day time frame. Some people have suggested video monitoring as an alternative. I have addressed that in my comments below click here to read Ellen Goethels post 15:01

David Goethel – We have lost the case, but I have no intention of giving up the battle.

I wanted to express my heartfelt thanks to all the private citizens and members of fishing families who have called and emailed me about the recent Supreme Court decision. We have lost the case, but I have no intention of giving up the battle. Many of you have offered suggestions of how to proceed, and I will weigh them all carefully and take further action. In the meantime, I urge all of you, especially those not related to the fisheries, to pick up the phone and call either the Regional Office switchboard (978) 281-9250, or the switchboard at Silver Springs headquarters (301) 427-8000 and voice your displeasure with the current situation. I would also urge you all to contact your Federal Senators in your respective states and voice your frustration. Some members of Congress have tried to fix the problem but because it is regional, they are getting resistance from Senators outside New England. Since many of you come from all regions of the country your calls or emails would be particularly helpful. I wish to again, publicly thank Cause of Action. They have put tremendous time, money and expertise into this case. They are just as frustrated as all of you that no one would rule on the merits of our case. Finally, I want to remind everyone who reads this that citizens hold government accountable in a democracy. Sitting on the sidelines makes everyone assume you do not care. So please, pick up the phone or write that email, and let government know you are dissatisfied with this current outcome. Thank you, David Goethel 17:30

Gone fishin’: Court denies NH caseclick here to read the op-ed

Fisherman David Goethel: Justices ruled on technicalities, not merits

The rejection by the Supreme Court is the third defeat suffered by Goethel and co-plaintiff South Dartmouth-based Northeast Fishing Sector XIII since they first sued NOAA Fisheries and other federal officials in December 2015 in U.S. District Court in New Hampshire.,,, “The Supreme Court was our last judicial hope to save the centuries-old New England industry,” Goethel said in a statement. Later, in an interview, Goethel let loose against what he said is the “stacked deck” of standing up to regulators, as well as his frustration with the justice system. click here to read the story 20:56

Supreme Court has declined to hear at-sea monitor case

The U.S. Supreme Court has denied a petition filed by a New England fishing group over the cost of at-sea monitors. New Hampshire cod fisherman David Goethel led the lawsuit. He says the cost shift adds hundreds of dollars to the daily cost of fishing and is driving people out of business. Attorneys for Goethel say on Monday that they’re disappointed the Supreme Court has declined to hear the case. They say they’ll look for new ways to challenge the cost shift, which they contend is unlawful.  The suit named the U.S. Department of Commerce, which includes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. click here to read the story 12:58

The Legacy of the N.H.-Maine Lobster War and Why It May Wage On

“That’s the line we’d use. We probably used it a century or so, between the New Hampshire and fishermen.” That’s Jack Newick, a lifelong lobsterman from Dover. Newick says in the old days, if you were out at sea, all you had to do was imagine a straight line connecting the lighthouses– and that was the border. They called it the “lights on range.” Newick, the New Hampshire lobsterman, remembers how it started. “For some reason, one particular Maine fisherman, he was a mean, ornery son-of-a-gun and he called the state of Maine down to establish a line.”Maine game wardens responding to the call found a New Hampshire lobsterman named Ed Heaphy with lobsters in his boat that were illegal in Maine. But Heaphy, using the “lights on range” said he wasn’t in Maine, he was in New Hampshire. The wardens disagreed. Things escalated. Ed Heaphy’s shipmate, Brockie, had a loaded pistol. Audio report, read the story here 14:26

New Hampshire fleet dwindles as at-sea monitoring decision heads to Supreme Court

A New Hampshire fisherman leading the fight against a decision by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association to shift the cost of at-sea monitoring to industry has appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. David Goethel of Hampton, New Hampshire, said he filed the appeal in early July. He is challenging the decision of a federal district court and the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled in NOAA’s favor, according to the Associated Press. Goethal, who filed his original suit in December 2015, has been joined in his appeal by the Northeast Fishery Sector 13, which represents fishermen from Massachusetts to North Carolina. His legal support is being provided pro bono by the Cause for Action Institute.,, In Goethel’s appeal to the Supreme Court, he argues that NOAA’s requirement of at-sea monitors represents an illegal, warrantless search of private property, and that forcing the industry to pay for its own monitoring represents a violation of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause. click here to read the story 10:51

A fisherman’s tale of fighting Uncle Sam

We’re probably going well off the beaten path on this one, but I wanted to draw your attention to a lawsuit which has been percolating in the system since 2015 and may be coming to the Supreme Court later this year. It involves a small volume fisherman who is fighting back against onerous regulations from the Department of Commerce which are threatening to put him (and so many other family operations) out of business. David Goethel is in the fight of his life because new government regulations are costing him more per day than he can generally earn in profit from his fishing operation. Cause of Action Institute (CoAI) is working on this case and provides the details. click here to read the story 11:45

Georgia-Florida water fight now in hands of special master, Supreme Court to decide

scales_of_justice_2A month long trial aimed at settling a high-stakes water dispute between Georgia and Florida ended Thursday with a special master imploring both sides to negotiate a settlement. Special master Ralph Lancaster reminded both parties that there’s much to be lost by booming metropolitan Atlanta or by residents of tiny Apalachicola, Florida. “Please settle this blasted thing,” Lancaster said. “I can guarantee you that at least one of you is going to be unhappy with my recommendation — and perhaps both of you.” Florida blames the booming Atlanta metropolitan area and agriculture in Georgia for causing low river flows that have imperiled fisheries in Apalachicola Bay. Georgia contends there’s not enough evidence to support drastic action that could imperil the state’s economy. The lawsuit played out for a month with dozens of witnesses and hundreds of exhibits in Portland, Maine’s largest city, more than 1,000 miles from the disputed watershed. Georgia’s attorney, Craig Primis, and Florida’s attorney, Phil Perry, declined to comment after Lancaster implored them to return to the negotiating table. Read the story here 10:27

Fate of Apalachicola Bay, seafood industry, could hang on upcoming Supreme Court test

thDER19RM8A special master of the U.S. Supreme Court has scheduled a trial for Oct. 31 in Florida’s lawsuit against Georgia over the river system they share — and with the latest in a series of droughts threatening, downstream users say the fate of the Apalachicola Bay could well be at stake. “That last drought we had — if we get just half of that, this bay may never be able to rebuild itself,” said Shannon Hartsfield, president of the Franklin County Seafood Workers’ Association. Florida sued Georgia in 2013, contending that Georgia’s overconsumption of water had reduced freshwater flows from the top of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin, near metro Atlanta, to the Florida Panhandle, home of the Apalachicola Bay. Georgia denies it, arguing that Florida’s mismanagement of the bay is to blame for its woes. The Apalachicola Bay’s seafood industry was once a formidable economic driver for the region, producing 90 percent of Florida’s oysters and 10 percent of the nation’s supply. Its commercial and recreational fishing industries generated $200 million a year and supported 85 percent of the local population. But no more. Read the story here 13:17

The Court and Overcriminalization: Bond v. United States and Yates v. United States

flagandscalesIn both Bond v. United States and Yates v. United States,  the Supreme Court reversed federal criminal convictions. Neither defendant’s conduct was constitutionally protected; there were no procedural irregularities in either trial, no vagueness or overbreadth issues, and no police misconduct (debatable) . Instead, each case involved prosecuting a small-time individual with a big-time statute: In Bond, the federal government used the Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act of 1998 against a “jilted wife.” In Yates, it unleashed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 on a mischievous fisherman. Both proceedings raised concerns about overcriminalization that implicitly drove the Court’s analysis in a new direction. Read the rest here 13:00

Off the Hook: Florida fisherman lands in U.S. Supreme Court case weighing government overreach

JohnYates_10163339_ver1_0_640_480John Yates doesn’t make his living as a commercial fisherman anymore. The federal conviction he is fighting all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court took care of that. Instead, he scraped together everything he had, opened a boutique furniture store and called it Off the Hook. Read the rest here 19:32

The personalities behind this week’s Supreme Court cases

court-yates-09-07-lnThere’s almost always a real human at the bottom of a Supreme Court case, but the justices’ work this week is notable for the number of easy-to-identify-with personalities whose names will be forever inscribed in law books. will be making his second trip, Florida fisherman John Yates is becoming the face of overzealous prosecution, And former air marshal and whistleblower Robert MacLean would rather be somewhere else altogether, Read the rest here 08:07

The Supreme Court’s Fish Tale

Holy mackerel! The biggest Supreme Court shredding case since the justices overturned Arthur Andersen’s conviction for destroying Enron-related records in 2005 turns out to be a fish story. Former Florida commercial fisherman John L. Yates was convicted in federal court in 2012 for violating the document-destruction provisions of the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley law by dumping overboard three undersized groupers netted in federal waters five years earlier in an effort to avoid a $500 penalty.  Read more here 13:40:23 I’m sorry to inform, there is now a pay-wall up.

Drakes Bay oyster farm denied Supreme Court hearing

drakesOyster farmer Kevin Lunny’s reaction to what looked to others like the last legal gasp of his operation at  punched right to the point: “It’s not over until the last oyster is shucked.” Read more here 08:20

BP to ask Supreme Court to hear claims issue

NEW ORLEANS — BP PLC said Wednesday it will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether businesses must prove they were directly harmed by the 2010 Gulf Of Mexico oil spill to collect payments from a 2012 settlement. Read more here  16:13