Citizens Against Range Expansion v. Idaho Fish & GameAnnotate this Case
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) appealed the district court's post-judgment orders (1) refusing to lift a portion of an injunction and (2) declaring the Idaho Outdoor Sport Shooting Range Act unconstitutional. In 2004, IDFG made a public proposal to renovate the Farragut Shooting Range, (owned and operated by IDFG since World War II), based on the "Vargas Master Plan." Citizens Against Range Expansion (CARE), an unincorporated non-profit association comprised of individuals who reside near the range, contended that the plan would greatly increase range usage, and harm the community. CARE sued IDFG in 2005 for nuisance and other related causes of action regarding the range's operation. CARE's claims were grounded in both safety and noise concerns regarding the increased use of the range, and its proposed expansion. Among other relief, CARE sought to enjoin IDFG's operation of the range. The case proceeded to a court trial in December of 2006 and in February of 2007 the court issued its memorandum decision wherein it determined that CARE was entitled to relief enjoining further operation of the Farragut Range until IDFG completed certain safety improvements. Upon completion of its range improvements, IDFG filed a Motion for Partial Lifting of Injunction. CARE then moved for summary judgment, claiming that the Act was a special law in violation of art. III, sec. 19 of the Idaho Constitution, and a deprivation of judicial power in violation of art. V, sec. 13. The district court issued summary judgment in favor of CARE on the constitutional issues in March of 2011. In its order, the court found that the Act was unconstitutional as a special law and a deprivation of judicial power. For this reason alone, it denied IDFG's Relief Motion with regard to the 501-shooter component. The court found that there remained disputed issues of fact regarding range safety. On August 25, 2011, following the evidentiary hearing on safety issues, the district court denied IDFG's Relief Motion with regard to the one component of the injunction. IDFG timely appealed to the Supreme Court. Upon review, the Supreme Court: 1) reversed the district court's order holding that IDFG did not comply with the "500-shooter" component of the injunction; 2) concluded as a matter of law that IDFG complied with the 500-shooter component, and lifted that component of the injunction; 3) reversed the district court's order holding the Act to be unconstitutional; 4) remanded this case to the district court to determine whether IDFG has complied with the "501-shooter" component of the injunction.