Friday, April 11, 2008

9th Circuit Says Bald Eagle Protection Does Not Violate RFRA

In United States v. Vasquez-Ramos, (9th Cir., April 10, 2008), the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to dismiss criminal charges under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA) and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) against two defendants who claimed their prosecution violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). The court said that in a 2003 decision, United States v. Antoine, "we held that individuals like Defendants who are not members of federally-recognized tribes did not have valid claims that their prosecutions under BGEPA violate RFRA.... Neither removal of bald eagles from the Endangered or Threatened Species List, the Supreme Court's decision in O Centro Espirita, nor the government's eagle recovery methods undermine this holding."