Andrus v. Allard

LOCATION: United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division

DOCKET NO.: 78-740
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)

CITATION: 444 US 51 (1979)
ARGUED: Oct 01, 1979
DECIDED: Nov 27, 1979

Harriet S. Shapiro - For the Appellants
John P. Akolt, III - For the Appellees

Facts of the case

Allard sold artifacts of Native American origin, some kinds of them consisted of eagle feathers.

The Federal Eagle Protection Act of 1940 outlawed the sale of eagle eggs or any parts of their body. However, it didn`t restrict the ownership or noncommercial using of these things that had been received legally before this law entered into force. After that, the Secretary of the Interior, Andrus, passed the legislative document that forbade the trade of mentioned things obtained before 1940.

Therefore, Allard was accused of the infringement of the forenamed Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. He filed a claim before the court to deny the provision that prohibited the commercial use of artifacts with this bird`s feathers, gotten before the year when the act was upheld. The appellant affirmed that such legal prescription breach the Commercial Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

The district court shared and confirmed the point of the plaintiff. The case study was continued at the appeal trial, that changed the previous ruling and found that the laws didn`t violate the constitutional guarantees.

The case brief underlines that the claim in Andrus v. Allard was passed to the Supreme Court of the USA. The judge upheld that the mentioned legal requirements were authorized to restrict the sale of any goods with eagle parts that were gotten in possession before the law was passed. These rules didn`t contradict with the Fifth Amendment as it didn`t legalize the deprivation of property, but only controlled the conditions of its commercial trade.

Moreover, Allard decision stated that in this conditions these legal acts didn`t deprive of all economic advantages or profits of commercial usage of eagle artificial, but just prescribed some rules of its sale. In such way, these laws were not the breach of constitutional guarantees but aimed to save the population of endangered bird species.


Media for Andrus v. Allard

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - November 27, 1979 in Andrus v. Allard

Warren E. Burger:

The judgment and opinion of the Court in Andrus, the Secretary of Interior against Allard will be announced by Mr. Justice Brennan.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

This case is here on appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Colorado.

The Secretary of Interior has implemented the Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act with regulations that prohibit commercial transactions with respect to migratory birds and their parts including a prohibition of commercial transactions in parts of birds legally killed before the birds came under the protection of the Acts.

This suit was brought by dealers and Indian artifacts partly composed of feathers obtained prior to the effective dates of the Acts.

And the dealers sought declaratory and injunctive relief alleging that the Acts cannot be interpreted to authorize regulations that forbid the sale of artifacts insofar as the constituent bird parts were obtained prior to the effective dates of the Acts and that if the regulations do apply to such property, the regulations effect the taking without just compensation in violation of the Fifth Amendment.

And the District Court granted the relief sought holding that the Acts were to be interpreted as not applicable to preexisting legally obtained bird parts and that therefore the regulations were void as unauthorized extensions of the Acts and were violative of appellee's Fifth Amendment rights.

We reverse.

We hold that both Acts contemplate regulatory prohibition of commerce in the parts of protected birds without regard to when those birds were originally taken.

And we hold further that -- so construed the Acts and the regulations do not effect a taking in violation of the Fifth Amendment.

Our reasons are set forth at greater length in the opinion filed with the clerk.

The Chief Justice concurs in the judgment.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you Mr. Justice Brennan.