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Supreme Court With Vacancy Could Split 4-4 on Endangered Frog

  • First argument of term centers on Endangered Species Act
  • Court operating shorthanded as Kavanaugh nomination lingers
Gopher frog at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. 

Gopher frog at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. 

Photographer: Gerald Herbert/AP Photo
Updated on

The Supreme Court opened its new term Monday with a case over an endangered frog and a reminder about the impact Brett Kavanaugh could have if he wins confirmation to the court.

The justices appeared split, possibly 4-4, over the federal designation of privately owned land in Louisiana as critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog. The owners of the land, including the forest-products company Weyerhaeuser Co., say the designation is improper because the animal doesn’t live on the property and couldn’t do so without modifications to the land.