Tag: Compliance Orders

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.)