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Safari International Club v. Jewell: D.C. Circuit Hunts Down Agency’s Procedural Evasions of Judicial Review

Derek Lyons December 14, 2016
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The most remarkable thing about the D.C. Circuit’s recent opinion in Safari International Club v. Jewell is that there was any opinion at all. Its blackletter law holdings on standing, final agency action, and exhaustion are the type often found in unpublished decisions. Yet the case is interesting for two reasons. The first is the glimpse it gives into an agency’s willingness to make borderline frivolous procedural arguments to evade substantive judicial review. And the second is the unqualified rejection a panel of judges not known for their skepticism of the administrative state gave to them. As a result, the case is simultaneously distressing and refreshing. It is both a reminder of how procedural complexity can empower bureaucrats and of how panel composition is not necessarily outcome‑determinative in administrative law. [Read More]