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Supreme Court sides with Idaho landowners against EPA
Los Angeles Times ^ | March 22, 2012 | Bettina Boxall and David G. Savage

Posted on 03/22/2012 8:46:57 AM PDT by WilliamIII

Reporting from Los Angeles and Washington— The Supreme Court strengthened the rights of property owners who are confronted by federal environmental regulators, ruling Wednesday that landowners are entitled to a hearing to challenge the government's threats to fine them for alleged Clean Water Act violations.

The 9-0 decision revolved around procedural matters and did not resolve questions about the reach of the act, which has been the subject of different legal interpretations.

But it is a victory for an Idaho couple, Mike and Chantell Sackett, who faced fines of up to $75,000 a day if they didn't restore a small wetland the Environmental Protection Agency said they had filled on a Bonner County lot where they planned to build their home.

When the Sacketts, who contended there were no wetlands on the property, sought to challenge the compliance order, they were told by EPA officials and later by a federal judge and the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that they had no right to a hearing. Instead, they were told to comply with the order first and then seek a permit to resume building. They weren't entitled to a hearing until the agency had imposed a fine on them, the appeals court said.

Reversing the 9th Circuit, the high court concluded that the Sacketts had a right to sue the government at an early stage. The court did not rule on whether they had violated clean water regulations.

The couple were represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation, a property rights group. The EPA "can't order property owners to dance like marionettes while denying them any meaningful right to appeal to the courts," said attorney Damien Schiff, who argued the case. The agency "will have to change its enforcement techniques for the better," he said.

(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Government
KEYWORDS: epa; epaoutofcontrol; johnadams; privateproperty; sacketts; scalia

1 posted on 03/22/2012 8:47:02 AM PDT by WilliamIII
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To: WilliamIII

A small victory, but a victory nonetheless.

That the EPA is extra-constitutional is the larger issue.


2 posted on 03/22/2012 8:49:46 AM PDT by rlmorel (A knife in the chest from a unapologetic liberal is preferable to a knife in the back from a RINO.)
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To: rlmorel

I saw this couple interviewed on Fox this morning. They stated the EPA also demanded they plant “wet land plants” to restore it. If they had, the EPA would have been able to say, “See, the land has wet land plants ergo it is a wetland”. Small victory and I hope the couple is able to build their home.


3 posted on 03/22/2012 8:53:21 AM PDT by momtothree
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To: WilliamIII
Only a right to sue, but a small step which, if it indicates that five justices understand and have triggered a public discussion of the underlying reasons for the Constitution's protections of private property, it may turn out to be a historical occasion for freedom.

John Adams' words in ""Defence of the Constitutions . . . " should be publicized throughout Conservative web sites. They can be found and downloaded from here.

John Adams, Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States

- 1787 - Works 6:8--9

"Suppose a nation, rich and poor, high and low, ten millions in number, all assembled together; not more than one or two millions will have lands, houses, or any personal property; if we take into the account the women and children, or even if we leave them out of the question, a great majority of every nation is wholly destitute of property, except a small quantity of clothes, and a few trifles of other movables. Would Mr. Nedham be responsible that, if all were to be decided by a vote of the majority, the eight or nine millions who have no property, would not think of usurping over the rights of the one or two millions who have? Property is surely a right of mankind as really as liberty. Perhaps, at first, prejudice, habit, shame or fear, principle or religion, would restrain the poor from attacking the rich, and the idle from usurping on the industrious; but the time would not be long before courage and enterprise would come, and pretexts be invented by degrees, to countenance the majority in dividing all the property among them, or at least, in sharing it equally with its present possessors. Debts would be abolished first; taxes laid heavy on the rich, and not at all on the others; and at last a downright equal division of every thing be demanded, and voted. What would be the consequence of this? The idle, the vicious, the intemperate, would rush into the utmost extravagance of debauchery, sell and spend all their share, and then demand a new division of those who purchased from them. The moment the idea is admitted into society, that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If "Thou shalt not covet," and "Thou shalt not steal," were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society, before it can be civilized or made free." (Underlining added for emphasis)

After reading Adams' words, and seeing what has happened in recent days and years, can we doubt the wisdom of his words?

4 posted on 03/22/2012 8:59:32 AM PDT by loveliberty2
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To: WilliamIII

9-0, including the Obama commies? Amazing.


5 posted on 03/22/2012 9:00:12 AM PDT by max americana
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To: WilliamIII

IIRC, Louis l’Amour and Tom Selleck proved the Sacketts to be a pretty tough bunch to tangle with.


6 posted on 03/22/2012 9:03:40 AM PDT by T-Bird45 (It feels like the seventies, and it shouldn't.)
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To: WilliamIII

9-0.

Sometimes the Supreme Court gets it right.

Now what idiots at the DOJ and EPA were on such a deluded power trip that they couldn’t even get a single liberal justice on the Supreme Court to agree with them?

Those at DOJ and EPA who pushed for the power grab should be fired.


7 posted on 03/22/2012 9:15:53 AM PDT by AtlasStalled
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To: momtothree

If I read correctly in another thread.. This couple has nothing left. Just the land and motor home they are living in. They still are not allowed to build. Just to sue. I suspect they will be out of money by the time they win the right to build. Then what? They will have to sell the land just to pay the lawyer and the EPA while loosing, will still win.


8 posted on 03/22/2012 9:20:11 AM PDT by cableguymn (Good thing I am a conservative. Otherwise I would have to support Mittens like Republicans do.)
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To: cableguymn

I agree. It is a financial disaster for this couple no matter what. They need to pay for their attorney (this has been going on for some time), and may have to keep paying for a verdict. Even if the verdict is favorable... the government still wins. The couple has lost everything financially. Sad situation.


9 posted on 03/22/2012 9:25:00 AM PDT by momtothree
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To: WilliamIII

“Justice Antonin Scalia, speaking in the courtroom, mocked the EPA’s view that the Sacketts’ small lot was protected by federal law as part of the “navigable waters” of the United States. The couple, “never having seen a ship or other vessel cross their yard,” questioned that their lot was a wetland, Scalia said, and they are entitled to a civil hearing before the agency to contest the EPA’s jurisdiction over their property.”

http://www.idahostatesman.com/2012/03/22/2045721/property-owners-get-boost-against.html

BWAHAHAHAHA


10 posted on 03/22/2012 9:30:31 AM PDT by epithermal
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To: momtothree

Mark Levin discusses the EPA and wetlands in his new book “Ameritopia”, and when he reads the EPA definition of wetlands, it is completely clear that it is so broad as to be tyrannical.

It is easy to see how bureaucrats would abuse it.


11 posted on 03/22/2012 9:31:23 AM PDT by rlmorel (A knife in the chest from a unapologetic liberal is preferable to a knife in the back from a RINO.)
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To: loveliberty2

MANY THANKS FOR POSTING THAT ADAMS QUOTE


12 posted on 03/22/2012 9:33:46 AM PDT by from occupied ga (Your government is your most dangerous enemy)
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To: epithermal

What on earth would we do without those voices of sanity on the court (Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Roberts)

And, even they have their liberal brain farts.

This is a classic case of how citizens are made to suffer when the power of the federal government is brought to bear on them.


13 posted on 03/22/2012 9:41:03 AM PDT by rlmorel (A knife in the chest from a unapologetic liberal is preferable to a knife in the back from a RINO.)
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To: cableguymn
PLF represented them. They're just getting started. This is a huge win for PLF, and they know it's just First Down and 50 yards to go.

But they plan to run with the ball. Send em a few bucks.

Pacific Legal Foundation

PS - Priest Lake is beautiful. Know right where their lot is.

14 posted on 03/22/2012 9:43:11 AM PDT by Regulator
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To: WilliamIII

I feel so bad for the family that was harassed and hounded by the EPA, and I hope they get their legal fees reimbursed by the government for this mess of the government’s making.


15 posted on 03/22/2012 9:44:40 AM PDT by AtlasStalled
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To: WilliamIII

Has there ever been a more incompetnet Justice Department?

This is the second 9-0 decision this year. Remember the Hosanna vs Tabor decision in January re: the definition of a Christian “Minister” and whether the Lutheran school could dismiss a teacher who had been gone on leave for a very long time - when said teacher threatened the school with a lawsuit?


16 posted on 03/22/2012 10:01:29 AM PDT by Gumdrop
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To: loveliberty2
Only a right to sue.

That right to actually bigger than the news media have portrayed. In two previous decisions

Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County (SWANCC) v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 531 U.S. 159 (2001).

Rapanos v. United States, 547 U.S. 715 (2006)

The court restricted the applicable scope of the clean water act.

In SWANCC the Corp argued that they could regulate any land that waterfowl would look down upon has habitable. The court disagreed.

In Rapanos the EPA argued that they could regulate any land where rain fell and later entered into navigable waters. Scalia's majority opinion said it had to be navigable water or adjacent lands. Kennedy's concurrence was more wishy washy and included the possibility of regulating land where there was a "Nexus" with the waters of the U.S. The EPA will use his version.

This case was the EPA work around those two cases. They claimed that their designations were not reviewable in the courts thereby ignoring the SCOTUS standards. They lost 9-0.

Strike three and they're out.

17 posted on 03/22/2012 10:06:50 AM PDT by ALPAPilot
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To: WilliamIII

I reckon the couple may now be able to seek some form of compensation from the Feds for the trouble they caused.


18 posted on 03/22/2012 10:32:34 AM PDT by lurk
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To: WilliamIII

You know you have been doing something very wrong like openly acting like communist thugs when even the liberal pukes on the USSC vote against you.

WOW, we sure do not get many 9-0 decisions from this cabal of politically motivated hacks.


19 posted on 03/22/2012 11:12:29 AM PDT by Wurlitzer (Welcome to the new USSA (United Socialist States of Amerika))
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To: momtothree; tomdavidd; Freeper; Gvl_M3; Flotsam_Jetsome; Berlin_Freeper; Hotlanta Mike; ...
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Supreme Court sides with Idaho landowners against EPA

Article and # 3.

.

20 posted on 03/22/2012 12:43:28 PM PDT by LucyT
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To: LucyT

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/03/21/supreme-court-sides-with-idaho-property-owners-over-epa/

If you watch the video in the Fox article and go to 2:12 it quotes a report on the agency from the chamber of commerce.

“EPA actually trains its personnel to make the terms of unilateral orders ‘ugly, onerous and tough’ and ‘very unpleasant’ in order to coerce settlements.”

If the someone told me the government did things that were ‘ugly, onerous, tough and very unpleasant...to coerce...’ I would have thought they were talking about interrogation methods at Gitmo - Not how to unilaterally and without any due process go after average US citizens whose property may or may not be wetlands and far away from running water.


21 posted on 03/22/2012 2:15:24 PM PDT by bluecat6 ( "A non-denial denial. They doubt our heritage, but they don't say the story is not accurate.")
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History:

N. Idaho couple battle “overzealous” EPA (Private Land Rights Violated)
The Coeur d’ Alene Press ^ | October 12, 2011 | The Coeur d’ Alene Press

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2791891/posts

.

Check out # 60 at this link:

EPA to property owner: ‘Your land is our land’ ($40 million in fines pending)
WorldNetDaily ^ | Sept. 23, 2011 | Bob Unruh

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2783174/posts


22 posted on 03/22/2012 2:24:54 PM PDT by LucyT
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. . . . . .
The Sackett land:


23 posted on 03/22/2012 2:27:51 PM PDT by LucyT
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To: loveliberty2

Awesome quote.


24 posted on 03/22/2012 3:44:17 PM PDT by Constitutionalist Conservative (I'm a constitutionalist, not a libertarian. Huge difference.)
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To: T-Bird45

One of his best series of books...loved all of l’mours story telling...then he up and dies on us and no more Louis Lamour books....:O(


25 posted on 03/22/2012 4:26:05 PM PDT by goat granny
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To: Constitutionalist Conservative

Thank you! Please post and/or distribute it as widely as you can, for the masses need to know that our Constitution was never intended to allow such flagrant violations of Creator’s law and our own Constitutional law.


26 posted on 03/22/2012 6:04:19 PM PDT by loveliberty2
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