Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
United States Supreme Court
531 U.S. 159 (2001)
The Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County (SWANCC) (plaintiff), a consortium of 23 suburban Chicago cities and municipalities, purchased a 553-acre parcel of property (the site) for the purposes of developing a fill disposal site for baled nonhazardous solid waste. The site, formerly a sand and gravel mining pit, contained permanent and seasonal ponds of varying sizes. SWANCC contacted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) (defendant) to determine whether a fill permit was required under § 404(a) of the Clean Water Act (CWA). Initially, the Corps determined that it lacked jurisdiction to issue a permit because the ponds were not “navigable waters” as defined in the CWA. However, after learning that the site contained several species of migratory birds, the Corps reconsidered their position and asserted jurisdiction under § 404(a) which extended to waters used as a habitat for migratory birds that cross state lines, known as the Migratory Bird Rule. The Corps refused to issue a permit to SWANCC. SWANCC filed suit in federal court under the Administrative Procedure Act challenging the Corps’ assertion of jurisdiction over the site and the merits of the permit denial. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the Corps. SWANCC appealed. The court of appeals affirmed. The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to review.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Rehnquist, C.J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 170,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 13,800 briefs, keyed to 187 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.