Sackett v. EPA

566 U.S. 120 (2012)

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Sackett v. EPA

United States Supreme Court
566 U.S. 120 (2012)

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Facts

Michael and Chantell Sackett (plaintiffs) owned a vacant lot in Idaho that contained wetlands. The Sacketts’ lot was near Priest Lake, a navigable lake, but it was physically separated from the lake by other lots. In preparation for building a house, the Sacketts backfilled part of their lot with dirt and rocks. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (defendant) found that the wetlands on the Sacketts’ property were protected by the Clean Water Act (CWA) and that the Sacketts’ backfilling violated the CWA. The EPA issued a compliance order instructing the Sacketts to stop work and to restore their wetlands. The Sacketts faced penalties of up to $75,000 per day if they did not comply with the order. The Sacketts believed the CWA did not apply to their landlocked wetlands. The Sacketts requested an administrative hearing, but the EPA denied the request. The Sacketts sued in federal court challenging the EPA’s authority to issue the compliance order. The Sacketts claimed the EPA’s order was a final agency action that was judicially reviewable under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The district court found that CWA compliance orders were not subject to judicial review and dismissed the lawsuit. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Scalia, J.)

Concurrence (Alito, J.)

Concurrence (Ginsburg, J.)

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