Press Release

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:

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.

Case Attorneys

M. Reed Hopper

Senior Attorney

Reed Hopper was a Senior Attorney in PLF’s Environmental Law Practice Group. He oversaw the Foundation’s Endangered Species Act Program that is designed to ensure that species protections are balanced … ›

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Mark Miller

Senior Attorney

Mark Miller, a PLF Senior Attorney, manages PLF’s Florida office in Palm Beach Gardens. He litigates our constitutional rights in state and federal court. CBS This Morning, Fox & Friends, … ›

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Case Commentary

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PLF Unanimously Wins 8th Straight Supreme Court Decision

PLF won a precedent-setting victory for property owners’ rights when the US Supreme Court ruled in our favor in the PLF case of United States Corps of Engineers v Hawkes The groundbreaking decision accepted PLF’s arguments that landowners have a right to seek judicial review when their property is designated as wetlands subject to federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act

PLF Director of Communications Jim Burling hosts a round table discussion with PLF case attorneys Reed Hopper and Mark Miller, client Kevin Pierce, and Gray Plant Mooty Principal Attorney Nancy Burke discussing the implications of the case for property owners around the country

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Hawkes U.S. Supreme Court Victory Reaction

PLF Director of Litigation Jim Burling provides instant reaction and analysis after PLF’s 8th straight US Supreme Court victory in US Army Corps of Engineers v Hawkes

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By M. Reed Hopper

Landowners nationwide win their day in court!

For more than 40 years, millions of landowners nationwide have had no meaningful way to challenge wrongful application of the Clean Water Act to their land  That changed today when a unanimous US Supreme Court ruled landowners have the right to challenge federal claims of jurisdiction in a court of law

The Clean Water Act authorizes the Army Corps of Engineers and Environmental Protection Agency to regulate “navigable waters,” which these agencies interpret to mean virtually all waters in the United States and much of the land Such “waters” are subject to complete federal control They cannot be disturbed without a federal permit This puts landowners at the

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