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
The Antiquities Act was originally intended to stop people from
looting pottery from Indian burial grounds, it says nothing about
The National Monument
wasn't confined to the smallest size required to achieve its
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."