Sackett Oral Argument

News reaches us from Washington, via a percipient witness to today’s U.S. Supreme Court oral argument in the Sackett case (having to do with the issue of when may a property owner seek judicial review of an EPA enforcement order) that things are looking up.

All the Justices who spoke out appeared to be sympathetic to the Sacketts’ position, although Justice Kennedy was not very active and Justice Thomas, as is his wont, was silent.

The Sacketts present a very sympathetic case. They are not developers. They tried to build a home for themselves on a small, evidently dry lot (less than an acre) and did some filling on a small part of it.  Then they got hit with an EPA order requiring them to restore the property (expensive!) back to its asserted “wetland” status and risk incurring a $3000 per day penalty before they could obtain judicial review of the overreaching EPA order.

Naturally, today’s New York Times comes down editorially on the side of the oppressive government. But if the oral argument was indicative of what’s on the Justices’ minds, the Times got it wrong.

So stay tuned but don’t count your chickens until after they hatch.

Follow up. The January 9, 2012, post on contains a link to the transcript of the Sackett oral argument, in case you want all the details first hand..

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