AUSTIN— The United States District Court for the Western District of Texas released an opinion in American Stewards of Liberty v. United States Fish & Wildlife Service in which the district court granted in part the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s summary judgment motion on behalf of our client, Mr. John Yearwood.
“The ruling from the court was clear—the federal government violated the law by failing to adequately consider evidence that the Bone Cave harvestman spider is no longer endangered,” said Robert Henneke, general counsel and director of the Center for the American Future at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. “The court agreed our client John Yearwood had a right to challenge the constitutionality of this federal action. The next step is our appeal to the Fifth Circuit, where the appellate court will now address the merits of Mr. Yearwood’s constitutional claims.”
John Yearwood runs a small business and lives on a farm that has been in his family since 1871. Over the years, he and his wife have used their farmland to benefit the community. The Yearwoods have allowed local church youth groups and the high school 4-H club to use the property for camping. These community outreach projects are in jeopardy, however, because the best part of the land for camping is also home to the Bone Cave harvestman, which the federal government claims is endangered.
The Texas Public Policy Foundation filed suit to intervene on behalf on Williamson County resident John Yearwood in December 2015. A motion for summary judgment in the case was filed by TPPF in October 2017.
“For nearly three years the government argued that we weren’t just wrong on our constitutional claims, but that Mr. Yearwood didn’t even have the right to challenge the federal government’s regulation of his land,” said Chance Weldon, attorney with the Center for the American Future at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. “The Court ruled yesterday that Mr. Yearwood is entitled to his day in court. We will now press his constitutional claims in the Fifth Circuit court of appeals.”