The Spring 2002 semester of Environmental Litigation Seminar focused on the timely and controverisal issue of the designation of critical habitat for listed species under the Federal Endangered Species Act. Using a mock petition by a fictional group called Save Hawai`i's Turtles, which sought broad designation of marine and terrestrial habitat for the threatened Green Sea Turtle in all Hawaiian waters, the students dove into the difficult scientific, cultural, social, management, and legal issues, writing a candid "case assessment" memo to their client.
The students in the class were then randomly assigned to represent eight different interest groups in a federal litigation setting. For this exercise, each student wrote a motion for summary judgment and related pleadings (listed below) for a hearing before federal Judge Kimo Linden. The final assignment for the class was an oral argument session, judged by two panels of legal practitioners and experts with background on endangered species law. For this assignment, each student was re-assigned to the "opposite side" from which they wrote their memorandum.
Student enthusiasm and performance for this course was excellent! By the end of the semester, the students had viewed a very "hot" environmental law issue in Hawai`i from multiple perspectives and with an inter-disciplinary lens. They worked incredibly hard and gained significant skills in research and legal writing under pressure and from a client-service perspective. The ultimate test of their knowledge and ability to think with the agility and poise of legal advocates was a terrific final round of oral argument.
As a tribute to the great students in this course, the importance of the issue, and as a public service, the students' summary judgment motions are presented below. (Please be aware that the problem is fictional and that the students' work should not be cited except for educational purposes.) Enjoy!
Environmental Litigation Seminar
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