Sackett Wins

I’m really liking SCOTUS these days:

The Supreme Court handed down a major win for both property rights and due process rights today in the case of Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency. At issue was the EPA’s use of so-called administrative compliance orders, which are government commands that allowed the agency to regulate the use of private property without also subjecting its actions to judicial review. In a 9-0 ruling, with the majority opinion written by Justice Antonin Scalia and separate concurring opinions filed by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Samuel Alito, the Supreme Court declared that these EPA actions must be subject to judicial review.

Here is Reason’s documentary.



Basically, the EPA decided the Sacketts land was a wetland without presenting any evidence that it was. They decreed that the Sackett’s had to “return” their land to its “natural” state. But since no fines were actually issued right away, the Sacketts could not challenged this in court. They had to either comply with the EPA demands or refuse to comply, incur millions in fines and then challenge it. And, stunningly, lower courts were fine with this.

SCOTUS just struck a gigantic blow for property rights. EPA and other agencies will now be accountable.

Enjoy your property, Mike and Chantelle Sackett. You’ve challenged the EPA’s tyranny and won. That doesn’t just make you winners; it make you patriots.

(PS – Alito’s concurring opinion is very good. The more time passes, the more I think Roberts and Alito are going to be the best things that came out of the Bush II Administration.)

Comments are closed.

  1. InsipiD

    It’s about time. Environmental laws in general have become an area where due process has been deliberately written out of the enforcement. It’s a relief to finally see something favor the individual over the government. Considering how our constitution is written, this is generally how decisions should go.

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  2. davidst

    Oh, that was the woman who was on Stossel’s Illegal Everything. Good for her. But this means they just have the right to challenge it in court? They still haven’t actually won recompense or anything else directly yet?

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  3. Hal_10000 *

    No, different case than Stossel won. They have only won the right to challenge, but that’s kind of the point. I would bet the EPA will back down once they actually have to prove their point.

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  4. Hal_10000 *

    Court also ruled unanimously that you can’t patent scientific ideas. There have been a number of really great verdict lately.

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  5. Xetrov

    Court also ruled unanimously that you can’t patent scientific ideas. There have been a number of really great verdict lately.

    That is awesome news.

    According to the court, Prometheus sought to lay claim to processes that are not far removed from natural phenomena; previous court rulings make it clear that natural phenomena are “not patent-eligible.”

    I did a research paper years ago on gene patents. There was some seriously scary shit surrounding what biotech companies were doing in regard to them.

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  6. Mississippi Yankee

    9 to 0. Wow. At least there is one decent branch of government left.

    I certainly want to believe that, but this lingering chill about their ObamaCare ruling coming up next week or early next month makes me wonder if this isn’t just a “Oh look, something shinny” moment.
    I’m becoming very cynical in my old age. And it seems so are the republicans in the House.

    The Republican-led House of Representatives voted Thursday to repeal a key measure of US President Barack Obama’s health care reform, a symbolic move on the historic law’s second anniversary.

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  7. briggie

    I am an engineer by trade and my only exposure to law is a corporate law class I took several years ago, so I am sorry if this seems like a dumb question. Does this ruling in anyway affect something like The Endangered Species Act? From what I understand The Wildlife and Fisheries Department can do something similar the EPA was doing if there is an endangered species on your property. Yeah, saving endangered species is well and good, but unintended consequences rears its head again.

    Penn and Teller yet again:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSY1HbpzTjM#t=5m55s

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