General Land Office of the State of Texas v. U.S. Department of the Interior, No. 19-50178 (King, Jones, Dennis)
This is a case ostensibly about the Golden-Cheeked Warbler:
Here's how Judge King, writing for a unanimous panel, summarized the decision:
The opinion also contains a useful overview of the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act, but what really caught my attention was the Court's description of the Warbler itself:
Those of you not fortunate enough to have spent considerable time in the Lone Star "State" might be surprised to learn that Texas is, in fact, a country, but it's true. I was born in Texas and have lived here most of my life, so I was well aware. I was surprised, though, to see Texas getting its due in a published opinion of a federal appellate court, though. "About time," I thought. Then I noticed that Judge King cited the Federal Register as authority for that noble proposition. Could it be?
Never in all my years of adlaw nerdery have I searched the Federal Register with such anticipation. When I found the relevant passage, I couldn't believe my eyes: turns out, the Federal Register goes even further and recognizes every Texas county as its own country! Don't believe me? I found an actual image of the original pages of the Federal Register so you could see for yourself. Here's an image of the relevant page in full:
And here is the key passage:
I know a lot of Texans with a lot of Texas pride. Many of them would be downright eager to explain at some length why Texas ought to be recognized as its own country. I've never met anybody, though, who made a similar argument for every Texas county. I think I'm going to get framed copies of this Federal Register passage and the relevant portion of Judge King's opinion referencing it and give one to everybody in my family as a gift. Seriously. I'll get one to hang in my office, too. Once it's up, I'll post a pic of it on the blog. This is just tremendous.