U.S. Supreme Court Rebukes EPA Enforcement Practices in Stunning 9-0 Decision
by Mark Ramsey on April 20, 2012 at 11:11 AM
Many, including this writer, have lamented the tyranny oft-imposed by the judicial branch on the rest of us. Such abuses have included “Alice in Wonderland” interpretations such as:
- The Voting Rights Act of 1965 being currently interpreted such that minorities (whites) can now be “packed” into districts (a practice expressly forbidden by the act itself), and that Democratic districts (not racial ones) must be somehow “protected”.
- Finding a right to kill unborn babies, un-enumerated by the Founders, in the infamous Roe v. Wade, which we now know to be a contrived case from the beginning.
- Expansion of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution to include just about anything, including famously having the Feds step in to control what a farmer or rancher grows and produces not for sale, but for his own personal use.
- Expansion of the ability of the Army Corp of Engineers to regulate navigable waterways to now include the EPA regulating so-called “wetlands”, some of which don’t even have water on them!
Implicit in this creeping expansion of government, especially at the federal level, is that more and more rules, regulations, and other restrictions on liberty and freedom are being promulgated not by legislatures, but rather by unelected (and unaccountable) bureaucrats. A nasty turn in recent years is that even trying to fight against these bureaucrats (“rage against the machine”) can be impossibly costly and draconian fines and even imprisonment awaits individuals and small businesses that try to do so. The adage “you can’t fight City Hall” may not be true, but “you can’t fight the Agency” (that is backed by essentially unlimited resources) may be.
All of the apparatchik may finally have gone too far. In case you didn’t hear, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) went nuclear against the bureaucracy last month. In a truly stunning and equally rare 9-0 decision, the Court overturned decades of Agencies’ jack-booted practices (and lower court rulings). (Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency,et.al., March 21, 2012)
[The Sacketts, an Idaho couple trying to build a house on purchased land near a lake, had been accused, tried, convicted, and sentenced by the EPA for violating what are now called the wetlands provisions of the Clean Water Act, even though their property had no water on it until one dug down 12 feet or so below ground level! Further, under EPA rules, the Sacketts could not even appeal the EPA ruling without incurring $75,000 per day in fines! And this was after the Sacketts actually WON in court!]
While the court did not rule on the issue of which party was correct on the merits, it clearly ruled that one’s due process rights could not be abridged. Justice Alito intoned “In a nation that values due process, not to mention private property, such treatment is unthinkable.”
Joe Speelman, an attorney specializing in such regulations, adds that:
“In this day and age, it is absolutely unusual for the [SCOTUS] to EVER issue a unanimous decision, particularly in the area of environmental law and the actions of the EPA. The significance of a unanimous decision by the US Supreme Court is that there is an absolute lack of legal basis for the position been taken by the EPA and the Administration regarding the EPA's actions over four decades.”
9-0 Supreme Court decisions are not common, but this is the second unanimous loss in two months for the corrupt Obama administration’s DOJ led by Eric Holder. The first was in January when the Court ruled that Churches can hire and fire based on doctrinal reasons and this is protected by the First Amendment.
Let’s all pray that the much maligned judges are awakening to their Constitutional role of protecting the Constitution and its provisions!