Hard decisions: The role of the judiciary in contemporary environmental politics wild life law in the later twentieth and early twenty-first centuries

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Hammons, Felicia Renee
Henry, Robin
This research utilizes legal court cases to describe scientific, legal, and political controversies inherent in the real-world implementation of environmental legislation during the latter twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Most current scholarship focuses solely on the science, legal practices, or politics involved in the application of environmental statutes. This works utilizes environmental history and legal history methodologies to argue that environmental legal cases are not simply beacons of environmental successes or failures. They are windows into the scientific, legal, economic, and political contexts in which they occurred. The majority of environmental laws were created nearly a half-century ago during the golden era of the contemporary environmental movement and their application has been tested in a string of legal cases. The cases presented in this work are illustrative of the increased role of the judiciary in environmental topics and how legal courts have dealt with dilemmas of environmental policies. The Oregon District Court case Defenders of Wildlife; et al. v. Secretary of the United States Department of the Interior (2005) focused on the role of science, politics, and law in the management and conservation of the gray wolf under the Endangered Species Act. The US Supreme Court case Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife (1992) demonstrated the conservative natureof the Rehnquist Court (1986-2006) and its effect on legal standing in future environmental cases. The US Supreme Court case Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council (2008) highlighted the conflict between US national security and environmental protection invested in the protection of marine life from US Navy sonar. The primary inquiry is how the environmental legislation created during the latter twentieth century has and will survive the changes in science, politics, and law during the early twenty-first century.
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Thesis (M.A.)--Wichita State University, Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of History