NATIONAL PARK HOSPITALITY ASSN. v. DEPT. OF THE INTERIOR

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
02-196
Petitioner 
National Park Hospitality Assn.
Respondent 
Dept. of the Interior
Advocates
(Department of Justice, argued the cause for the respondent)
(Argued the cause for the petitioner)
Tags
Term:
Facts of the Case 

The Contract Disputes Act of 1978 (CDA) established rules governing disputes arising out of certain federal government contracts. After Congress enacted the National Parks Omnibus Management Act of 1998, which established a comprehensive concession management program for national parks, the National Park Service (NPS) issued 36 CFR section 51.3, which purported to render the CDA inapplicable to concession contracts. The National Park Hospitality Association challenged 51.3's validity. Upholding the regulation, the District Court concluded that the CDA is ambiguous as to whether it applies to concession contracts and found the NPS's interpretation reasonable. In affirming, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found the NPS's reading of the CDA consistent with both the CDA and the National Parks Omnibus Management Act of 1998.

Question 

Does the Contract Disputes Act of 1978 apply to contracts between the National Park Service and concessioners in the national parks?

Conclusion 
Decision: 7 votes for Dept. of the Interior, 2 vote(s) against
Legal provision:

The Court did not answer the question. In a 7-2 opinion delivered by Justice Clarence Thomas, the Court held that the controversy was not yet ripe for judicial resolution. The Court reasoned that, because the NPS has no delegated rulemaking authority under the CDA, 51.3 is nothing more than a general policy statement designed to inform the public of NPS's views on the CDA's proper application and thus the National Park Hospitality Association's challenge was a facial one. Given the absence of a concrete dispute, the Court asked the parties provide supplemental briefing on whether the case was ripe for judicial action. Justice John Paul Stevens filed a concurring opinion. Justice Stephen G. Breyer, joined by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, dissented.

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NATIONAL PARK HOSPITALITY ASSN. v. DEPT. OF THE INTERIOR. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 23 October 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2002/2002_02_196>.
NATIONAL PARK HOSPITALITY ASSN. v. DEPT. OF THE INTERIOR, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2002/2002_02_196 (last visited October 23, 2014).
"NATIONAL PARK HOSPITALITY ASSN. v. DEPT. OF THE INTERIOR," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed October 23, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2002/2002_02_196.