RE The numbers

Patrick Foley patfoley at
Wed May 30 10:23:06 EDT 2001

Ron and others,

The US Endangered Species Act does not give rights to animals and plants. Nor
does the US Constitution forbid the giving of rights to nonhuman objects.
Corporations, for example, are nonhuman entities (which humans may participate
in), as is the American flag and so forth -- all of which Congress has seen fit
to grant rights to.

Perhaps the least constitutional thing about the ESA is its opportunity for the
US federal government to mess around in what might legitimately be thought to
be State responsibilities. The role of the federal government has expanded well
beyond what many of the framers wished for, but it has done so largely out of
necessity, in a more crowded nation when individual states do not have the
power to overcome multinational corporate interests. It must also be said that
fundamental ethical agreements should be decided at a national level at least,
and I appreciate the abolition of slavery and the preservation of public land
by the federal government - policies that many states have been traditionally
opposed to. The US Supreme Court accepts the Constitutionality of all of these,
and I say (for once this year) God bless them for it.

Yours in struggle,

Patrick Foley

Ps. See Susan Buck 1996, Understanding Environmental Administration and Law,
Island Press, Washington, D. C. for more on this.

Ron Gatrelle wrote:

> My comments incerted below. Ron
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Neil Jones" <carstore at>
> To: <carolinaleps at>
> Sent: Tuesday, May 29, 2001 2:39 PM
> Subject: RE The numbers
> >I am a conservationist and watcher who does not wish to see
> > collecting banned but who doesn't agree with much of the ideology that
> collectors adopt. For
> > example, I would disagree with Ron Gatrelle when he states that the
> >Endangered Species Act violates the US constitution as he has done in the
> past
> >
> I definitely think the ESA is unconstitutional. In the one post I mentioned
> this I also told why. BUT, what jerked my chain here in what Neil said, is
> the fact that he left out the other half of my statement. WHICH WAS- that I
> said that I liked what the ESA did - provide protection.
> Neil likes to try to make Paul look bad by taking things Paul says out of
> context - or accusing Paul of taking everything out of context.  In debate,
> taking the other guys remarks out of context is a "classis" maneuver.  I
> now see that this is a regular part of Neil's MO.  What one does is just
> quote part of what someone says (accurately) but in such a way that the
> hearer (reader) will naturally jump to a false conclusion. This is what
> Neil was doing here. He hoped that the (gullible) reader would think (via
> half-information) that I was against protecting butterflies. Which of
> course is patentedly false not only by my other words but by my real life
> actions. Further, in saying "as he has done in the past" Neil is hoping the
> reader will take this to mean "often" and in some primary fashion.  (My one
> mention of this was an aside to another issue.)
> The great thing about this tactic in debate is it affords the perpetrator
> complete deniability.  "I (Neil) didn't say that." or "I wasn't trying to
> do that."
> So - for the record.  Both Neil and I like what the ESA does - affords
> protection for wildlife including leps.  However, I think it is
> unconstitutional as it affords "rights" to wildlife they (by the
> Constitution) do not have, while Neil thinks it is constitutional.
> RG
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