In a major blow to the Trump administration, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled Monday that challenges to an Obama-era rule defining the federal government’s authority under the Clean Water Act belong at the district rather than appellate court level.
The Trump administration had argued that the appropriate venue for those cases should be in the Federal Appeals Court.
The Hill reports:
Industry groups involved, led by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), argued that under the Clean Water Act, lower district courts should first hear the challenges, which can then be appealed to the Supreme Court.
The Trump administration, on the other hand, said the challenges were legally within the purview of appeals courts because the rule touched on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) permitting authority.
“Today’s unanimous Supreme Court decision provides much needed clarity and affirms our longstanding position that the Clean Water Act empowers the federal district courts, not the courts of appeals, to initially review legal challenges to the Waters of the U.S. Rule,” NMA President and CEO Hal Quinn said in a joint statement Monday.
“This win, coupled with the administration’s actions in proposing to repeal the rule and seek input on how to properly define ‘waters of the U.S.,’ puts us one step closer to addressing this deeply problematic rule and the confusion it has created.”