How to Beat the EPA in Court

Mike and Chantell Sackett outside the U.S. Supreme Court.

On March 21 the U.S. Supreme Court issued a major decision affirming the due process rights of property owners who are forced to deal with the Environmental Protection Agency. At issue in Sackett v. EPA was the agency’s use of so-called administrative compliance orders, which were essentially government commands not subject to judicial review. In its unanimous ruling, the Court refused to let these EPA actions skirt the constitutional requirements of due process. As Justice Antonin Scalia’s majority opinion put it, “there is no reason to think that the Clean Water Act was uniquely designed to enable the strong-arming of regulated parties into ‘voluntary compliance’ without the opportunity for judicial review.”

Writing in the latest installment of the Cato Institute’s annual Cato Supreme Court Review, Damien Schiff, the Pacific Legal Foundation attorney who argued and won the case, offers an insider’s account of both the legal issues at stake and how he and colleagues organized their litigation. It’s a fascinating and revealing look at how public-interest lawyers go about doing their valuable work. Here’s a snippet:

Having lost in the lower courts, PLF and the Sacketts turned their attention to the Supreme Court. In strategizing over how best to present the Sacketts’ case, we were faced with a significant problem.
Generally speaking, the Supreme Court does not take up cases just to affirm the lower court and, in the Sacketts’ case, every lower court to have addressed the issue ruled the same way—no judicial review of compliance orders. We thus had two options: emphasize the national importance of the issue or identify a conflict. We chose both.

Read more at By Damon W. Root.


  1. Stan,,,,S,C, says:

    A Simple Statement…….The United States Constitution cannot exist under the Present mandates of the E.P.A.

  2. EPA has there own kangaroo courts,
    Photographic and video evidence will not hold up against there lies,
    sorry, EPA is God and cannot be beaten in the EPA courts

  3. Wait until Obama packs the Supreme Court with his nominees when vacancies are to be filled. Obtaining a just and constitutional outcome will be impossible.

  4. Congress… democrats and republicans, you are allowing your legislative powers to be stripped from you at a rapid rate. There should be NO EPA mandates or third party suits that allow the EPA to not only make the assumption that said suits are valid ,but to fund the third party's pursueing said suit. These actions by pass congressional oversight and have cost the tax payer and all businesses a fortune…All of it ill conceived ,much of it fraudulent in nature, and with the EPA's analysis many times biased to the extreme. Congress if you fail to react in a bi-partisan manner to recognize and protect your country from an agenda that will surely destroy our great nation… Then your "party first" tunnel vision will not only cripple our nation ,but you Mr. / Mrs Senator and or Representative may soon find that indeed you no longer wield any power,as you have allowed it all to be usurped by the executive branch and it's tendrils. " If you don't use it you lose it "

  5. I am sick and tired of this whole Damn Government and their stupid Agendas. Give us our Country back and get the hell out if you don't like it.

  6. Jess; you are going to have to fight to take it back. They aren't going to give anything back to the people. It is obvious those we have elected to represent us no longer believe in the Constitution and the Oath of Office they took means nothing to them. Congress has been negligent in its duties so fire your US Representative and Senators.

  7. cruel irony of the EPA being authorized by a Republican president; it shows that neither party is for the constitution nor property rights for the individual.

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