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GLOBE FUR DYEING CORP. v. UNITED STATES

November 16, 1978

GLOBE FUR DYEING CORPORATION, Plaintiff,
v.
The UNITED STATES of America et al., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: OBERDORFER

MEMORANDUM

I. Introduction

 Prior to the enactment of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (the "Act"), 16 U.S.C. § 1361 et seq., plaintiff, Globe Fur Dyeing Company, imported, dyed and sold animal skins. Plaintiff challenges the provision of the Act which prohibits importing marine mammals killed at less than eight months of age or while nursing; 16 U.S.C. § 1372(b)(2). It seeks declaratory and injunctive relief.

 Plaintiff alleges that § 1372(b)(2) violates the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution and the guarantee of equal protection of the laws as applied to the federal government through the Fifth Amendment. Plaintiff contends that the objective of the Act is the furtherance of wildlife conservation according to scientific principles of management. The "age and nursing" provision of the Act, it argues, was a political response to public concern and emotionalism and bears no reasonable relationship to the goal of the Act and is therefore unconstitutional.

 The case is before the Court on cross-motions for summary judgment. Applying the relevant constitutional analysis to undisputed material facts, the Court holds that the challenged provision does not violate the guarantees of either due process or equal protection. The findings of fact and conclusions of law which lead to this holding follow.

 II. Findings of Fact

 1. Plaintiff was an exporter, dyer and seller of marine mammal skins. At least part of plaintiff's business has been prohibited by § 1372(b)(2).

 2. 16 U.S.C. § 1372(b) provides in part that

 
Except pursuant to a permit for scientific research issued under section 1374(c) of this title, it is unlawful to import into the United States any marine mammal if such mammal was
 
(1) pregnant at the time of taking;
 
(2) nursing at the time of taking, or less than eight months old, whichever occurs later;
 
(3) taken from a species or population stock which the Secretary has . . . designated as a depleted species or stock . . .
 
(4) taken in a manner deemed inhumane by ...

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