March 31, 2016

PLF encouraged by Supreme Court hearing in Hawkes

WASHINGTON, D.C.;  March 31, 2016:  Attorneys with Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) were very gratified that the Supreme Court heard PLF’s property rights case of United States Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes yesterday and the justices obviously understood the issues very well, giving hope that the majority of justices will find that judicial review applies for federal wetlands “jurisdictional determinations.”

M. Reed Hopper, the PLF principal attorney who delivered oral argument before the justices, expressed optimism in his remarks to the media after the hearing.  His remarks to the media, delivered from the steps of the Supreme Court, may be viewed at PLF’s website:  www.pacificlegal.org.

View a photo gallery of PLF’s Hawkes case.

Hawkes is a precedent-setting case that asks whether landowners anywhere in the country may appeal to the judiciary if their property is labeled as “wetlands” subject to the federal Clean Water Act.  PLF’s clients are family-owned and run businesses — Hawkes Co., providing peat for golf courses and other sports turf applications; and Pierce Investment and LPF Properties, which own some peat land.  They are prevented from using property in Marshall County, Minnesota, because the Corps issued a jurisdictional determination categorizing it as federally controlled wetlands.  PLF represents them free of charge, as with all its clients.

“This is a case that affects millions of property owners across the country, who face the potential of having their property designated ‘waters of the United States,’ “said Hopper in his media remarks after the hearing.  “Everyone who questions [a wetlands “jurisdictional determination”] should have the right to go to court to make their case.  So this is a case about property rights, it’s a case about the rule of law, it’s about fairness, and it’s a case about whether jurisdictional determinations under the Clean Water Act should get immediate judicial review.”

About Pacific Legal Foundation
Donor-supported Pacific Legal Foundation is the leading legal watchdog organization that litigates for limited government, property rights, free enterprise, and a balanced approach to environmental regulations, in courts across the country.  PLF represents all clients free of charge.

For the media

If you are member of the media and need immediate assistance, please call 202-465-8733 or email our media team at

media@pacificlegal.org.