Once upon a time in an alternate universe known as California there was a panel of judges.
Let’s call them the state’s Third District Court of Appeals.
Now these are individuals schooled in the law.
Their aim is to use the law to bring justice and order to the masses.
One day they issued a ruling.
A bumblebee, they said, is a fish.
They said so because state bureaucrats with the Department of Fish & Wildlife said so.
The bureaucrats said so because over the years their predecessors interpreted California’s endangered species law passed in 1970 as being too vague on what the definition of a fish is.
The Almond Alliance — a pesky group of people who deal in reality instead of legal and language contortions — said a bumblebee is not a fish.
They assumed the great legal minds that watch over the state’s laws would agree there was something a bit fishy about a bumblebee is a fish logic.
So, the Almond Alliance went to the temple of justice.
A Sacramento County Superior Court judge agreed with the almond farmers.
The judge ruled the 1970 law’s reference to “invertebrates” the bumblebee-are-fish bureaucrats used had to be read in context. Therefore, it referenced only aquatic animals.
But now three Mad Hatters on the Third District Court of Appeals disagreed.
They unanimously decreed the only context that counted was the one generations of bureaucrats proliferating like rabbits in the bubble world known as Sacramento had created.
They did, however, imply that lawmakers back in the era of Governor Ronald Reagan meant that insects were fish even though it was never stated in the legislation.
God’s law — a concept sometimes referenced in rulings — doesn’t count here.
High ranking judges know Mother Nature is a dolt.
If she were on her game, she would have made sure trout could fly and bumblebees could swim.
California’s endangered species law was signed in 1970. It granted protections to any “bird, mammal, fish, amphibia or reptile” whose existence in the state was threatened, and included “invertebrates” in the definition of fish.
It’s safe to say almond growers were stung by the ruling based on the 1970s law.
Why, you might ask, did this happen?
The reason is simple. A group is pushing to get the bumblebee listed as an engendered species.
That would likely mean pesticides and such that the almond growers use judiciously to protect their trees one day may be declared outlawed by those laboring in the Twilight Zone better known as Sacramento that has more bureaucrats per square mile than anywhere in the USA except for DC.
Almond growers like bees.
They important zillions upon zillions of them every year to help pollinate 1.3 million acres of almond trees setting blooms.
They’d be nuts to want to harm bumblebees that also help with the pollination.
That said, they’d be nuts to ignore where the “bumbles are fish” decree by bureaucrats backed up by the courts could end up going.
It is why they are fighting for what every ichthyologist knows, bumblebees are not fish based on their anatomy and behavior.
But why pay heed to the scientists when the State of California can offer up alternate facts.
After all, pigs can fly if a bureaucrat armed with a ton of regulations and the ability to carpet bomb those into oblivion with fines that disagree says so.
Truth doesn’t exist.
And for the ends that the Department of Fish & Game as well as environmental interest groups want to reach, they will twist the law to provide the means.
Original intent doesn’t count.
Only interpretations over the years that identifies whatever needs to be seen as fish to bring the full force of Sacramento down on targets that bureaucrats take aim at is all that matters.
But in defense of the naked bureaucratic emperors and their like-minded colleagues in judicial robes, they are simply trying to cloth themselves with the authority to twist laws into what they want them to be by assuming those that went before them had no idea of what they meant when they wrote the law.
OK, that might be a fair assessment of politicians.
But the bottom line is do we really want a society where we can twist laws to justify what we want to do?
Perhaps the almond farmers who fear engendered species status conferred on bumblebees are crying fish or foul over the wrong section of the 1970 law.
Farmers are homo sapiens.
Homo sapiens are mammals.
And the 1970 law does protect “any bird, mammal, fish, amphibia or reptile” whose existence in the state is threatened.
Farmers can make a strong case their existence is being threatened in California.
Encroachment of growth. Drought. Labor costs. Rising fuel prices. Methane regulations.
The ranks of farmers are dwindling.
Three out of every four Americans were once farmers.
Now the USDA estimates the workforce subspecies is down to 1 in every 100 Americans.
That translates into a 75 percent drop in population.
Yes, comparing farmers and the overall population of the United States in 1780 to 2022 might be construed as trying to compare apples and oranges but at least both are fruits as opposed to one being a fish and the other being an insect.
Farmers, just like other endangered species, have experienced a major loss in habitat over the years. Gone are the orange groves of Los Angeles and the orchards of the Santa Clara Valley.
If bumblebees can be a fish under the 1970 law, then how big of a stretch is it for farmers to qualify as a mammal whose existence is threatened be covered by the same language as well?
After all, the intent was to protect mammals.
Is it the fault of an endangered farmer that the law was vague on whether it applies to subgroups of mammals based on their occupation?
There is even a subgroup of the subgroup that is even more endangered — family farmers.
And with 90 percent of all California almond orchards being part of family farms with many ran by third and fourth generations who were handed down their farmers, shouldn’t they be protected from overzealous environmentalists?