Reetz v. Bozanich, No. 185

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtDOUGLAS
Citation90 S.Ct. 788,397 U.S. 82,25 L.Ed.2d 68
Docket NumberNo. 185
Decision Date25 February 1970
PartiesAugie REETZ, Commissioner of Fish and Game for Alaska, et al., Appellants, v. John BOZANICH et al

397 U.S. 82
90 S.Ct. 788
25 L.Ed.2d 68
Augie REETZ, Commissioner of Fish and Game for Alaska, et al., Appellants,

v.

John BOZANICH et al.

No. 185.
Argued Jan. 23, 1970.
Decided Feb. 25, 1970.
Charles K. Cranston, Juneau, Alaska, for appellants.

Robert Boochever, Juneau, Alaska, for appellees.

Page 83

Mr. Justice DOUGLAS delivered the opinion of the Court.

This is an appeal from the judgment of a three-judge District Court, convened under 28 U.S.C. §§ 2281, 2284, declaring certain fishing laws of Alaska and regulations under them unconstitutional and enjoining their enforcement. 297 F.Supp. 300. We noted probable jurisdiction. 396 U.S. 811, 90 S.Ct. 70, 24 L.Ed.2d 65.

The laws in question, passed in 1968, concern salmon net gear licenses for commercial fishing, not licenses for other types of salmon fishing. They are challenged because they limit licensees to a defined group of persons. The Act in material part provides:1

'Persons eligible for gear licenses. (a) Except in cases of extreme hardship as defined by the Board of Fish and Game, a salmon net gear license for a specific salmon registration area may be issued only to a person who

'(1) has previously held a salmon net gear license for that specific salmon registration area; or

'(2) has, for any three years, held a commercial fishing license and while so licensed actively engaged in commercial fishing in that specific area.'

The regulations2 provide that except in cases of 'extreme hardship3 * * * a salmon net gear license for a

Page 84

specific salmon registration area may be issued only to a person who:

'(A) has held in 1965 or subsequent years a salmon net gear license for that specific salmon registration area; or

'(B) has, for any three years since January 1, 1960, held a commercial fishing license and while so licensed actively engaged in commercial fishing in that specific area.'

Appellees are nonresidents who applied for commercial salmon net gear licenses. They apparently are experienced net gear salmon fishermen but they cannot qualify for a salmon net gear license to fish in any of the 12 regions or areas described in the Act and the regulations.4

Appellees filed a motion for summary judgment on the grounds that the Act and regulations deprived them of their rights under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and also their rights under the Alaska Constitution. That constitution provides in Art. VIII, § 3:

'Wherever occurring in their natural state, fish, wildlife, and waters are reserved to the people for common use.'

And it provides in Art. VIII, § 15:

'No exclusive right or special privilege of fishery shall be created or authorized in the natural waters of the State.'

Appellants filed a motion to dismiss or alternatively to stay the proceedings in the District Court pending

Page 85

the determination of the Alaska constitutional question by an Alaska court.

Appellants' motion to dismiss or to stay was denied. Appellees' motion for summary judgment was granted, the three-judge District Court holding that the Act and regulations in question were unconstitutional both under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and under the Constitution of Alaska, 297 F.Supp., at 304—307.

This case is virtually on all fours with City of Meridian v. Southern Bell Tel. & Tel. Co., 358 U.S. 639, 79 S.Ct. 455, 3 L.Ed.2d 562, where a single district judge in construing a Mississippi statute held that it violated both the Federal and the State Constitutions. The Court of Appeals affirmed and we vacated its judgment and remanded to the District Court with directions to hold the case while the parties repaired to a state tribunal 'for an...

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337 practice notes
  • DONOHOE C. CO., INC. v. Maryland-National CP & P. Com'n, Civ. No. Y-74-1210.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Maryland)
    • July 29, 1975
    ...illumination — City of Meridian v. Southern Bell Tel. & Tel. Co., 358 U.S. 639, 79 S.Ct. 455, 3 L.Ed. 2d 562 (1959); Reetz v. Bozanich, 397 U.S. 82, 90 S.Ct. 788, 25 L.Ed.2d 68 (1970); Wisconsin v. Constantineau, 400 U.S. 433, 91 S.Ct. 507, 27 L.Ed.2d 515 (1971); and Askew v. Hargrave, 401 ......
  • HOUSING AUTHORITY OF CITY OF NEWARK v. Henry, Civ. No. 226-71.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. District of New Jersey
    • November 18, 1971
    ...under a federal system, which is largely dependent for its proper functioning upon the states' judicial branch.4 See Reetz v. Bozanich, 397 U.S. 82, 90 S.Ct. 788, 25 L.Ed.2d 68 (1970). Cf. Atlantic C.L.R. Co. v. Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, 398 U.S. 281, 90 S.Ct. 1739, 26 L.Ed.2d 23......
  • Salvati v. Dale, Civ. A. No. 73-461
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • October 5, 1973
    ...(Citations omitted 358 U.S. at 640, 79 S.Ct. at 456.) The principle retains its full vitality today. Reetz v. Bozanich, et al., 397 U.S. 82, 90 S.Ct. 788, 25 L.Ed. 2d 68 (1970). It precisely befits the case at bar since we do not deal (a) with issues intimately entwined with the commerce cl......
  • Mariniello v. Shell Oil Co., No. 74--1385
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Third Circuit
    • February 14, 1975
    ...of the Pullman Abstention Doctrine; 122 U.Pa.L.Rev. 1071 (1974). 41 Wisconsin v. Constantineau, 400 U.S. 433 (1971); Reetz v. Bozanich, 397 U.S. 82, 90 S.Ct. 788, 25 L.Ed.2d 68 (1970); Zwickler v. Koota, 389 U.S. 241, 88 S.Ct. 391, 19 L.Ed.2d 444 (1967). See Lake Carriers Ass'n v. MacMullan......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
337 cases
  • DONOHOE C. CO., INC. v. Maryland-National CP & P. Com'n, Civ. No. Y-74-1210.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Maryland)
    • July 29, 1975
    ...illumination — City of Meridian v. Southern Bell Tel. & Tel. Co., 358 U.S. 639, 79 S.Ct. 455, 3 L.Ed. 2d 562 (1959); Reetz v. Bozanich, 397 U.S. 82, 90 S.Ct. 788, 25 L.Ed.2d 68 (1970); Wisconsin v. Constantineau, 400 U.S. 433, 91 S.Ct. 507, 27 L.Ed.2d 515 (1971); and Askew v. Hargrave, 401 ......
  • HOUSING AUTHORITY OF CITY OF NEWARK v. Henry, Civ. No. 226-71.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. District of New Jersey
    • November 18, 1971
    ...under a federal system, which is largely dependent for its proper functioning upon the states' judicial branch.4 See Reetz v. Bozanich, 397 U.S. 82, 90 S.Ct. 788, 25 L.Ed.2d 68 (1970). Cf. Atlantic C.L.R. Co. v. Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, 398 U.S. 281, 90 S.Ct. 1739, 26 L.Ed.2d 23......
  • Salvati v. Dale, Civ. A. No. 73-461
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • October 5, 1973
    ...(Citations omitted 358 U.S. at 640, 79 S.Ct. at 456.) The principle retains its full vitality today. Reetz v. Bozanich, et al., 397 U.S. 82, 90 S.Ct. 788, 25 L.Ed. 2d 68 (1970). It precisely befits the case at bar since we do not deal (a) with issues intimately entwined with the commerce cl......
  • Mariniello v. Shell Oil Co., No. 74--1385
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Third Circuit
    • February 14, 1975
    ...of the Pullman Abstention Doctrine; 122 U.Pa.L.Rev. 1071 (1974). 41 Wisconsin v. Constantineau, 400 U.S. 433 (1971); Reetz v. Bozanich, 397 U.S. 82, 90 S.Ct. 788, 25 L.Ed.2d 68 (1970); Zwickler v. Koota, 389 U.S. 241, 88 S.Ct. 391, 19 L.Ed.2d 444 (1967). See Lake Carriers Ass'n v. MacMullan......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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