Jan 29, 2018

U.S. Supreme Court Defies Administration on WOTUS

The justices voted unanimously to place lawsuits in federal district courts

U.S. Supreme Court rules against administration on WOTUS

Following a ruling on Jan. 22, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court declared unanimously that lawsuits that concern the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule must begin in federal district courts, the lowest level of the federal court system. The opposition proposed that such lawsuits begin in federal appeals court.

The ruling follows a decision to hear the case made a year prior. The main topic of debate surrounded which domain in court would be the first to hear cases that claimed the regulations imposed by WOTUS went too far. The U.S. Supreme Court would decide whether the U.S. Court of Appeals or federal district courts would be the first to hear the lawsuits.

Ultimately, the justices unanimously voted in favor of such proceedings beginning in federal district courts, aligning with the hopes of industry groups, who claimed such cases should begin there due to the regulations put in place by the Clean Water Act.

This comes as a loss for the Trump administration, who fought to see such cases being under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Court of appeals, but a fight to repeal the decision is likely to ensue.