Oral argument: Jan. 9, 2012
Appealed from: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Sep. 17, 2010)
After Petitioners Chantell and Michael Sackett began construction on their land, they received a compliance order from Respondent, the Environmental Protection Agency, informing them that their construction project violated the Clean Water Act because it filled in protected wetlands. The Sacketts sought pre-enforcement judicial review of the compliance order under the Administrative Procedure Act, but were denied. The Sacketts assert that Congress intended to provide for pre-enforcement judicial review, and that without such review, the compliance order violates their due process rights. The Environmental Protection Agency maintains that Congress intended to preclude judicial review of compliance orders under the Administrative Procedure Act because compliance orders are not self-executing. The Environmental Protection Agency argues that sufficient procedural safeguards exist under the Clean Water Act to provide adequate review before any penalties are enforced. The Supreme Court's decision will impact the ability of regulated parties to seek review of compliance orders, and will determine what methods the Environmental Protection Agency can utilize to respond to environmental emergencies.