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Sunday, July 14, 2024 | Back issues
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The Santa Cruz Massacre

(Strange as it may seem, a free downloadable iPod version of Obiter is now available on iTunes.)

If you want to save an animal, don't go to court. Just ask any feral pig.

OK, pigs can't talk - especially dead ones. There apparently are no live feral pigs left on Santa Cruz Island off the coast of central California because they all got wiped out before an appeals court could rule on whether they should be killed.

Actually, they got killed before the appeals court got a chance to think about it, but the people who sued decided to continue suing anyway - just on the off chance that some pig might be hiding out in a basement or something.

"Appellants argue that because neither we nor they can be certain that every pig on the island has been killed, relief might be granted as to any remaining pigs, if they happen to exist."

Or fly.

Do you have the feeling that these plaintiffs (or their lawyers) just couldn't stand the thought of leaving the courthouse?

In case you're wondering, this wasn't exactly an environmental disaster (except for the pig-killing part). The name of the case is Feldman v. Bomar (from the Ninth Circuit) and it's a classic "for want of a nail" type of tale.

It seems the pigs were not native to the island and they were destroying vegetation and damaging archeological artifacts. And their kids were being eaten by golden eagles who were running rampant because the local bald eagles had been wiped out by DDT. And the piglet-fueled golden eagles were wiping out the foxes.

So the government solution to this was: death to the pigs!

And how do you wipe out a non-native species?

Easy. Just bring in another non-native species: guys from New Zealand.

Honest. I don't make this stuff up. The government brought in "Prohunt Inc, a professional hunting firm from New Zealand that specializes in island conservation through the elimination of non-native animals."

Heaven knows what it will take to get rid of the New Zealanders now.

BLOCKING IMMIGRATION. Why build a fence when we've got overcrowded freeways?

I point this out as a cost-saving measure because, after all, budgets are strained these days. It costs a lot of money to build a fence along the Mexican border and, I think, it costs a whole lot more to upgrade the freeway system.

Now I'm not personally against immigration. But I know some of you are and if you feel that way, it would appear the best thing you can do is get out on the freeways.

Check out a Ninth U. S. Court of Appeals case called Perez v. Mukasey in which an immigrant's car overheated after getting stuck in traffic. Because of that he showed up two hours late for his removal hearing and the immigration judge ordered him out of the country.

Hey, if you can't navigate the freeways, do you deserve to be an American?

The problem in this case, though, was that the immigration judge was still on the bench when the petitioner showed up. So the appellate court - in a divided opinion! - ruled that he shouldn't be tossed out without a hearing.

The dissenting judge apparently thinks tardiness is grounds for expulsion. Imagine the impact that could have on our school system.

Be that as it may, this particular petitioner might be out of the country right now if he'd been just a few minutes later and the judge had left the courtroom.

So if you're against immigration, get out on those freeways.

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