November 30, 2016

PLF Supreme Court cases have changed administrative law forever

By M. Reed Hopper Senior Attorney

Readers of this blog are familiar with our unanimous victory in Sackett v. EPA in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled landowners had a right to immediate challenge of EPA compliance orders in federal court. Subsequent to Sackett, we won Army Corps of Engineers v Hawkes; another unanimous Supreme Court victory in which the court ruled that landowners had a right to immediate challenge of Corps and EPA Jurisdictional Determinations in federal court. Together these cases overturned decades of judicial rulings blocking the court house doors to aggrieved land owners who wished to challenge wrongful application of the Clean Water Act to their property. These cases have now become the benchmark cited by courts considering whether federal agency actions are subject to judicial review under the Administrative Procedure Act.

We cited some cases here that have relied on Sackett and Hawkes to expand the rights of citizens to hold overzealous agency officials accountable in court for their illegal conduct, beyond the Clean Water Act.  Recently, our colleagues at Marten Law wrote an article entitled: The Legacy of Sackett v. EPA: Supreme Court Allows Challenges To Wetland Jurisdictional Determinations Under The Clean Water Act In U.S. Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co., Inc. The article provides a brief summary of Sackett, Hawkes, the Clean Water Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act and follows up with a citation to three recent cases that have considered Hawkes in determining the reviewability of agency actions in various contexts.

Although Hawkes is less than six months old, it has already opened the court house doors to citizens across the nation who are willing to push back against overreaching government.  This is a victory for all.

What to read next