Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Did You Hear About the Unanimous Supreme Court Decision?

It is not often that the nine justices on the U.S. Supreme Court issue a unanimous decision, but they did last week. In pushing back against regularity overreach by the Biden administration, the Supreme Court returned the Clean Water Act to its original purpose and restored federalism.

The case involved Chantell and Mike Sackett who purchased some new property in Priest Lake, Idaho, to build a home and began backfilling the land in preparation for doing so in 2004. The Environmental Protection Agency determined that the construction work on the land was affecting the “waters of the United States.”

According to Rachel Wilfong at The Daily Signal, the construction activity by the Sacketts was “discharging pollutants into surrounding wetlands that the agency deemed to be ‘waters of the United States’ and therefore subject to federal regulation.” The fine was upwards of $40,000 per day until the site was restored to its original state. Wilfong continued with this explanation: 

The Clean Water Act is a federal statute that allows the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to regulate “navigable waters.” In the past, both the EPA and Corps have attempted to introduce vague interpretations of these waters, which delivered the Washington bureaucracy a perfect opportunity to expand its power.

Luckily for all Americans, the Supreme Court ruled May 25 in favor of the Sacketts. The high court issued a judgment in Sackett v. EPA in line with the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s plurality opinion in a separate major Clean Water Act case, Rapanos v. United States. Scalia’s opinion in that 2006 case held that the term “waters of the United States” can refer only to “relatively permanent, standing, or flowing bodies of water,” and “does not include channels through which water flows intermittently or ephemerally or channels that periodically provide drainage for rainfall.”

At the time Scalia’s opinion didn’t have the necessary five votes to achieve a majority of the nine justices.

Until last week, that is, when the Supreme Court honored the plurality by determining in Sackett v. EPA that the use of “waters” in the Clean Waters Act “refers only to ‘geographic[al] features that are described in ordinary parlance as “streams, oceans, rivers, and lakes” and to adjacent wetlands that are ‘indistinguishable’ from those bodies of water due to a continuous surface connection.”

In other words, the Supreme Court provided a succinct definition of “waters” under the Clean Water Act, providing a legal defense for rolling back federal overreach….

Until now, pushing back against the Biden administration’s draconian interpretations of the Clean Water Act, as well as those of previous administrations, has been an upstream battle.

The Supreme Court’s decision in Sackett v. EPA is a major step in the right direction for common sense, states’ rights, and private property rights. It could provide a legal precedent for fighting other instances of the EPA’s overreach.

Democrats and the EPA are upset with the ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court. We can expect more calls to pack the Supreme Court with more justices because the justices currently there are following the law and common sense.

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