Findings of fact, conclusions of law, and whooping cranes

whoopingcraneThe Fifth Circuit revised its earlier opinion in Aransas Project v. Shaw, No. 13-40317 (Dec. 15, 2014) and also denied en banc review over a dissent joined by three judges (with a fourth also voting for review).  The Court continues to hold that the plaintiff failed to establish proximate cause in an environmental case about the environment for whooping cranes.  The points of division are whether the panel “independently weighs facts to render judgment in violation of fundamental principles of federal law,” or simply finds that “the record permits only one resolution of the factual issue after the correct law is applied”; a related issue is whether rendition or remand is the appropriate appellate remedy for fact findings premised on an error of law.

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