Tulare County v. Bush
306 F.3d 1138 (D.C. Cir. 2002)

  • President Clinton established the Giant Sequoia National Monument in California.
    • The Antiquities Act of 1906 gives the President the authority to create National Monuments.
    • The individual giant sequoia groves were isolated and non-contiguous, but the proclamation established a single National Monument that also included areas in between the groves that did not contain giant sequoias.
  • Local public and private entities (led by Tulare County) sued for an injunction.
    • Tulare argued that the President's proclamation violated the Antiquities Act because:
      • It failed to identify any objects of "historic or scientific interest" in the National Monument, or define a basis for why the National Monument needed to be made.
        • The Antiquities Act was originally intended to stop people from looting pottery from Indian burial grounds, it says nothing about protecting trees.
      • The National Monument wasn't confined to the smallest size required to achieve its conservation objectives.
      • It limited timber cutting, which Tulare claimed would result in an increased chance of forest fire, which ironically would destroy any objects of historical or scientific interest within the National Monument.
  • The Trial Court dismissed the case. Tulare appealed.
  • The Appellate Court affirmed.
    • The Appellate Court found that the Antiquities Act did not require that the President identify specific details about what the National Monument was enacted to protect, or require the President to make a detailed investigation of the lands being protected.
  • To date, no cases have ever voided a Presidential action under the Antiquities Act or limited the amount of discretion the President has in defining the terms "historic or scientific interest" and "smallest size required."