Court: Obama Administration Skirted Rulemaking Process to Enact Elephant Trophy Import Ban

Obama didn't follow law when banning elephant hunting trophies


You mean the Obama Administration cut a few corners in order to enact a policy that’s actually harmful to an endangered species? Say it ain’t so! . . . Court faults Obama administration for elephant hunting policy

A federal appeals court ruled Friday that the Obama administration did not follow the right procedures when it banned importing elephant hunting trophies from Zimbabwe.

The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said that the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) should have gone through an extensive process of proposing a regulation, inviting public comment and making the regulation final when it made determinations in 2014 and 2015 that elephant trophies cannot be brought into the country.

But President Obama had a phone and a pen. What else does a chief executive need to get things done?

The decision could complicate the ongoing deliberations within the Trump administration over whether to undo Obama’s ban on bringing body parts, such as heads, from hunted Zimbabwe elephants into the country.

FWS reversed the ban last month, inviting significant pushback from numerous corners, including animal rights activists, lawmakers and commentators from both parties.

The NRA and the Safari Club sued over the slap-dash process the previous administration followed to get the ban in place. Never mind that legal hunting of elephants and other creatures can cull herds of older animals and pay for the preservation and propagation of the species as a whole.

President Trump jumped in amid the backlash to put the decision on hold. Neither he nor his administration has made any announcement on the matter since then.

Since the three-judge appeals court panel ruled Friday that Obama’s ban should have gone through the rulemaking process, any attempt to repeal the ban would likely have to go through a similar process.

That’s what’s apparently known as regulatory logic. So nothing’s likely to change any time soon.


  1. avatar BLoving says:

    Gun bigotry standard procedure: impose rules on everyone except themselves and their friends.

    1. avatar Charles says:

      Your stupidity knows no bounds. Can you even find zimbabwe on a map? This is about what zimbabwe, and zambia, is doing to elephant herds and who was benefiting from trophy fees. This has nothing to do with guns. You’re still free to take a gun to zimbabwe and your free to import an elephant trophy from south africa.

  2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    Small potatoes compared to helping Hezbollah smuggle cocaine and launder billions of $$$.

  3. avatar MamaLiberty says:

    I didn’t think America had any wild elephants (except in political office, of course), so how can the “government” have an “elephant policy” that involves actual elephants?

    Too bad almost nobody seems to be the least inclined to mind their own damned business.

  4. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Oregon went even farther. One cannot poses anything Ivory. No matter when it was taken.
    Inherit grandmas piano with ivory keys? Turn it into the state for destruction.
    Use extinct wooly mammoth tusk in knife handles? Nope. Verboten.

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      I am not sure of all the details, but it is pretty much the same in California. There may be some exceptions that are essentially impossible to prove, i.e. proof of purchase prior to a certain date, but I really don’t kow. The wooly mammoth tusk thing is bizarre, as is the one for walrus tusks.

    2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      12,000 years ago sea level rose 390 feet. If it could just do that one more time it would rid the world of 90% of it’s problems. For instance, the rest of Oregon would no longer have to put up with Salem or Portland anymore.

      1. avatar BLoving says:

        Thanx, Gov.
        I’d like to move to the Texas hill country one day, but I’d rather not be forced to due to rising water.

      2. avatar Geoff PR says:

        “12,000 years ago sea level rose 390 feet. If it could just do that one more time it would rid the world of 90% of it’s problems.”

        You just might get your wish, Gov.

        They discovered a Yellowstone-size supervolcano caldera in Antarctica.

        The ice there is oh, a few miles thick? If it pops off, that will bump up the sea level just a little bit…

      3. avatar jwm says:

        Salem and Portland and coastal CA will just move inland. There goes the neighborhood.

        1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          Last I checked it’s us highlanders who have all the guns. Why would we let them?

    3. avatar Roymond says:

      Everything I’ve read about Oregon’s law says that owning ivory is not illegal, nor is inheriting it. “Antique” ivory gets a carve-out as well; the category includes guns and knives. Musical instruments are grandfathered, too, as is jewelry so long as the ivory does not constitute more than 20% of the item.

  5. avatar Mark N. says:

    Wait, if the court says that the Obama regulation is invalid, it ceases being a regulation–so why would a repeal of something the court just repealed have to follow the rule making process? That makes no sense to me. Rather, it seems that if the regulation is void, the Trump Administration doesn’t have to take any action at all to allow trophies to be imported.(But as Tom said, there may be state regulations that prohibit bringing tusks or other trophies into that state.)

  6. avatar ironicatbest says:

    As much as I’m against trophy hunting, the elephant and black rhino benefit from it. It’s not the American trophy hunter, it’s the Asians obsession with endangered animals will make them extinct. Obama just didn’t see the big picture

  7. avatar Charlie says:

    Barry didn’t have a fukn clue how to do anything meaningful. Everything he came up with was sh*t. I don’t know if it was intentional or just stupidity (or both). I fall on the “Both” side.


  8. avatar Roymond says:

    The problem with the claim that trophy hunting fees help wildlife conservation is that as much as 80% of the fees get pocketed by a corrupt bureaucracy; the amount varies by country (and probably by bureaucrat).

    I’m waiting for some clever scientist to splice the gene for ivory into something and grow it in the lab.

  9. avatar Roymond says:

    Kenya took the lead a few years ago and did a very proper response to poachers: their wildlife rangers are armed with fully automatic weapons. At one point there were U.S. Army Rangers veterans were deeply involved, and may still be.

    But the only way to really stop the poachers is to end the demand in Asia, a demand that rests on superstition.

  10. avatar Rockscout says:

    Look up the numbers, the elephants are going the way of the Buffalo, and they will be gone in a few short years. Roymond left the only knowledgeable comments concerning elephants. People (mostly from asia) are very heavily invested in Ivory with every hope and expectation that the animal will soon be extinct. There is a total war on elephants, with RPGs and machine guns, and there is no country where elephants are not being heavily poached, and certainly nowhere to hunt a normal wild herd of elephants. Only the shittiest countries will give you a permit, and this is basically state sanctioned poaching of a truly endangered animal. There is a lot to this story. With all the older elephants dead, the younger ones don’t know the watering holes, or where to find food, so there is a lot of crop damage, so the locals could care less. The only hope for this species is for rich white people to fund war on poaching. Which they are doing; It’s a losing war, but more interesting than hunting elephants. Seriously, siding with elephant hunters is a douche move.

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