January 11, 2011
PLF argues for property rights in landmark Supreme Court case
PLF Clients Mike and Chantell Sackett leave the Supreme Court building with Senior Staff Attorney Damien Schiff.
Oral argument was held this week at the United States Supreme Court in the Pacific Legal Foundation property rights case of Sackett v. United States Environmental Protection Agency.
In this high-profile litigation, PLF seeks to establish that property owners have a right to appeal to court when EPA effectively seizes control of their property by declaring it "wetlands" under the Clean Water Act.
Arguing on behalf of PLF clients Mike and Chantell Sackett was Damien M. Schiff, a PLF Senior Staff Attorney.
In a statement after oral argument, Schiff said: "If EPA essentially seizes control of your property by labeling it as 'wetlands,' do you have a right to appeal to a court of law? EPA says, No. The Ninth Circuit has said, No. Today, on behalf of Idaho property owners Mike and Chantell Sackett, Pacific Legal Foundation urged the Supreme Court to say, Yes. EPA must not be considered a law unto itself."
To find out more about the Sackett oral argument from reporters and court watchers, read the PLF Liberty Blog posts on Sackett.
Victims of EPA overreach seek the right to their day in court
PLF clients Mike and Chantell Sackett, of Priest Lake, Idaho, bought a small parcel in 2005 with the intent to build a three-bedroom family home. They obtained a county permit to build, but then they were blindsided by EPA. It came in and claimed the property is "wetlands" — and ordered them to return it to the agency's liking, on pain of astronomical fines.
The Sacketts wanted to contest the claim that their land is "wetlands" — but the Ninth Circuit ruled that they would first have to go through a years-long "wetlands" permit process, which could cost 12 times the value of their land!
Represented free of charge by PLF, the Sacketts are asking the Supreme Court: When property owners are hit by an EPA wetlands "compliance order," do they have a right to meaningful judicial review — or is EPA effectively above the law?
Help PLF fight for the Sacketts' rights — and your rights
"Without PLF, we couldn't be able to go to the Supreme Court to fight for our rights, and for everyone's access to the courts when government oppresses you," said Mike Sackett. "Thank you, PLF — and thank you, PLF donors!"
PLF's lawyers depend on PLF's generous contributors. Please donate to help our attorneys keep "rescuing liberty" from coast to coast! Thank you!
For more information on Sackett v. EPA
, including briefs, background facts, and a video of the Sacketts and PLF Senior Staff Attorney Damien M. Schiff, visit PLF's web site: www.pacificlegal.org/Sackett
Pacific Legal Foundation