Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Book review: Dawn at Mineral King Valley

David Ettinger recommends Dan Selmi's book, "Dawn at Mineral King Valley:  The Sierra Club, The Disney Company, and the Rise of Environmental Law," which was recently published by the University of Chicago Press. The book tells the backstory of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision, Sierra Club v. Morton (1972) 405 U.S. 727. It's not just about the Supreme Court litigation, although there's plenty of good stuff about party and amicus brief strategizing, and uses justices' private notes to reveal some of the Court's internal deliberations. Much of the book is about how Walt Disney outmaneuvered actress Janet Leigh and her husband to get picked to build a large ski resort in (spoiler alert) what is now a resort-less part of Sequoia National Park, and about the battles over the project of the U.S. Forest Service (and the Department of Agriculture) versus the National Park Service (and the Interior Department) during the Johnson and Nixon administrations. The book is very well written and the amount of research that went into it remarkable. This is a great read for appellate practitioners and non-lawyers alike.