U.S. Supreme Court will hear Waters of the United States Case Over Trump Objection
This week, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that it will hear a case related to the Clean Water Rule, also known as the Waters of the United States rule, promulgated under the Obama administration. The Supreme Court denied the Trump administration’s motion to put the ligation on hold in light of President Trump’s February executive order directing the Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. EPA to review and revise or rescind the Clean Water Rule. Environmentalists and supporters of the Clean Water Rule urged the Supreme Court to hear the case anyway.
The Supreme Court case centers on whether appellate courts have the authority to decide petitions to review the Clean Water Rule, even though the rule itself is the EPA’s attempt to “clarify” jurisdictional limitations of waters of the United States and is not used to justify the actual issuance or denial of a permit. In February 2016, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held that it had jurisdiction to hear challenges related to the rule. The National Association of Manufacturers wanted to keep the matter at the local district court level and asked the Supreme Court to review the Sixth Circuit’s decision. Environmental pressure groups argued that the questions over the correct legal venue would continue to be relevant given that they would likely sue over whatever replacement rule the Trump administration issues.
The choice of court influences the statute of limitations for filing lawsuits, and the relative cost of litigation.