Group sues state of California over shark fin ban

The San Francisco Chronicle reports the Asian American Rights Committee of California has filed a lawsuit against the state, claiming that the “Shark Protection Act” (AB376) violates “Congress’ authority to regulate interstate trade.”

The “Shark Protection Act,” which was signed into law last October and went into effect on January 1, 2012, prohibits the sale and trade of shark fins in California.

According to the lawsuit, the shark fin ban effectively eliminates interstate trade of shark fins, which has been a legitimate local business for over 35 years. The Chronicle reports that local opponents of the shark fin ban plan to file a federal lawsuit, as well.


  1. drudown says:

    Notwithstanding the AARC’s assertions to the contrary, the irony here, of course, is that the Commerce Clause is most commonly invoked as a justification when federal law implicates interstate trade or exchange- not only interstate navigation (see, e.g., Gibbins v. Ogden [1824] 22 U.S. 1) but also the trade of meat products across state lines (see, e.g., Swift and Company [1905] 196 U.S. 375).

    Here, it is difficult for the AARC to credibly contend that the ban on shark fins does not have a “substantial economic effect” on interstate commerce or that the “cumulative effect” of the ban could not have an effect on such commerce (see, e.g., NLRB v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp. [1937] 301 U.S. 1).

    As such, the AARC’s claim is not only a misguided pretext to overturn important regulatory action to help conserve sharks under the auspices of greed, the legal authority cited to do so appears unfounded.

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