You may have heard already, but in case you didn’t, this is the verdict (Solka Decision ):
Each of the plaintiffs have admitted in their pleadings, affidavits, testimony or exhibits to possessing Russian wild boars, old world swine, feral hogs or hybrid Russian boars or other sus scrofa described in the ISO. Plaintiffs therefore cannot be heard to claim the ISO is unconstitutionally vague.
Plaintiffs’ and Counter-Plaintiff’s motions for summary disposition asking the court to declare the ISO unconstitutionally vague and invalid are denied. Plaintiffs’ and Counter-Plaintiff’s Complaints continue, however, as to the remaining claims. This decision and order does not resolve all issues, or close the cases.
Judge Solka did not rule on the actual constitutionality of the ISO/Declatory Ruling. He agreed with the state that since, by their own admission, each of the farmers and game ranchers and households possess Russian boar breed hogs they can not claim the ISO is vague because it specifies Russian boar as a prohibited species.
To use a chess analogy, this hearing was a bold move, a bishop moving for a checkmate fairly early in the game. The Judge decided to allow them to block the move with a comparable piece, a technicality. They captured a piece. That’s far from game over.
Frankly, I don’t have a good grasp on the meaning of the “legal standing” issues. Apparently we only overshot our standing for this particular legal maneuver, but this decision doesn’t negate our right to raise more questions in the individual cases. Judge Solka asked some very pointed questions that clarified the vagueness question like crystal. He merely sidestepped that issue, letting the bishops clash and leaving the bigger pieces for another day.
One thing to note is Shannon Hanna’s quoted testimony on page 9 of the decision:
Mangalitsa swine are a breed of domestic pig. Therefore, they are not sus scrofa and not prohibited under the Invasive species Order. Moreover, Mangalitsa swine do not exhibit the phenotypic characteristics of sus scrofa set forth in the Declaratory Ruling….
…In applying the Declaratory ruling, DNR staff considers all of the characteristics as a whole. Certain characteristics are distinctive of Russian boars and are given greater weight, such as bristle-tip coloration and dorsal profile. If the DNR cannot determine with certainty that an animal is a Russian boar, based either on the animal’s known species or the characteristics listed in the Declaratory Ruling, then the DNR will err on the side of caution and will not require that the animal to be dispossessed.
Obviously Ms. Hanna hasn’t seen a Swallow-bellied Mangalitsa. If they don’t fit the phenotypic description of a sus scrofa as set forth in the Declaratory Ruling, no pig breed does. Additionally, her stated criteria (consider the whole, not one characteristic) and certain weighted characteristics are not indicated in any way in the Declaratory Ruling or Mr. Stokes’, the former head of the DNR, statements. That would indicate to me a great deal of arbitrary and capricious discretion on the part of the individual officer. Very interesting statements in the scope of the game. Very much “game on.”