In Maine v. Norton, Maine and several Maine business associations filed suit challenging the decision made by the Department of the Interior to list the distinct population segment (DPS) of Gulf of Maine Atlantic salmon as endangered. Upon cross-motions for summary judgment, the court established that the listing decision was based upon the best scientific data available and clearly supported by the administrative record. The court granted defendant's motion and, accordingly, the listing decision was upheld. This case presented to the federal court the decision whether to dismiss the Plaintiffs' motions for lack of standing or, alternatively, to determine whether listing the DPS of Gulf of Maine Atlantic salmon was accurate and lawful under the Endangered Species Act. Although the Maine court chose to dismiss the Maine business associations' motion, the court took judicial notice of the facts necessary to establish standing by the State of Maine, noting the importance of the issues to be determined in this case. This application of rule 201 of the Federal Rules of Evidence enabled the court to make a detailed determination of the issues raised by this listing decision. The question now becomes: was this an appropriate application of judicial notice under Federal Rule 201? This Note reviews the purpose of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and the roles that both the State and federal agencies have played throughout the process of listing the DPS of Gulf of Maine Atlantic salmon. The Note considers the elements required to take judicial notice under the Federal Rules of Evidence, and the court's authority to utilize this adjudicative procedure. Further, this Note weighs the Maine court's application of Rule 201 to this case, and concludes that the decision to take judicial notice in order to establish standing by Plaintiff, the State of Maine, was judicious and well-timed, considering the current economic climate of the State and the continued threats to the survival of the wild Maine salmon population.
State Of Maine v. Norton: Assessing The Role Of Judicial Notice,
Ocean & Coastal L.J.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.mainelaw.maine.edu/oclj/vol9/iss1/5