The U.S. Supreme Court refused yesterday to hear a challenge to the protected status of the endangered fairy shrimp, a tiny crustacean that lives in rainwater ponds in California’s Central Valley. The decision was a boon to fans of the Endangered Species Act, but a blow to property-rights advocates, for whom the case was one in a series of recent legal crusades to limit the federal government’s power to protect wildlife. The property-rights advocates argued that the federal government has no authority to protect species that, like the fairy shrimp, exist in only one state and have no commercial purpose. Happily, the Supreme Court continued to take a broader view of the environment.
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