This column presents facts regarding the United States Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Wisconsin State Constitution, and various other documents in reference to modern topics. Mark hopes to encourage interest in those works so that others can consider whether our government is practicing within its constitutional limits. In the last category, he may indicate his opinion. Mark is a resident of New Berlin. Readers are encouraged to visit the following sites for more information on the United States Constitution and Thomas Jefferson's views on politics and government.
According to ABC News.com; Mar 21, 2012
The Supreme Court today ruled in favor of an Idaho couple who had been battling the Environmental Protection Agency in an effort to build their dream home.
Four years ago, Mike and Chantell Sackett bought property to build a home near a lake in Bonner County, Idaho. After obtaining local permits the Sacketts began work, pouring in some land fill. But their work came to a screeching halt when they were visited by officials from the Environmental Protection Agency.
The couple was slapped with a compliance order asserting that the land is subject to the Clean Water Act and that they had illegally filled protected wetlands. They were told to stop filling in the lot, and to restore it to its pre-construction condition or face thousands of dollars in potential liability.
The Sacketts sought to challenge the EPA’s finding in court, but were told that that they needed to go through a permitting process first, and only after the EPA moved to enforce the order could they seek judicial review.
Today, a unanimous Supreme Court reversed a lower court decision and found that the Sacketts may bring a civil action under the Administrative Procedure Act, which provides for judicial review of “final agency action for which there is no other adequate remedy in court.”
Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for a unanimous court, said that since the EPA’s decision was final, and “since the Sacketts have no other adequate remedy in court, they may bring their suit under the APA.”
The decision is a victory for property rights advocates. Attorneys for the Pacific Legal Foundation, who represented the Sacketts in court, issued a statement calling the decision a “precedent-setting victory for the rights of all property owners.”
“The United States Supreme Court today held that landowners have a right to direct, meaningful judicial review if the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency effectively seizes control of their property by declaring it to be ‘wetlands’,” the group said.
“The EPA used bullying and threats of terrifying fines, and has made our life hell for the past five years,” Mike Sackett said in a statement. ”It said we could not go to court and challenge their bogus claim that our small lot had ‘wetlands’ on it. As this nightmare went on, we rubbed our eyes and started to wonder if we were living in some totalitarian country. Now, the Supreme Court has come to our rescue, and reminded the EPA – and everyone – that this is still America, and Americans still have rights under the Constitution.”
US Constitution, Article III, Section 1
The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.
To Quote the French philosopher Montesquieu:
“Again, there is no liberty if the judiciary power be not separated from the legislative and executive. Were it joined with the legislative, the life and liberty of the subject would be exposed to arbitrary controul; for the judge would be then the legislator. Were it joined to the executive power, the judge might behave with violence and oppression.”
We the People:
So the EPA has been denying people their day in court. Most people do not have the resources or the time to fight for their rights like this couple - and the EPA takes advantage of that. This is the unconstitutional administrative state to which our country is evolving. And some people want to grant it more authority?