On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down an important ruling regarding the interpretation of the definition of "waters of the United States" (WOTUS) in Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency that stopped unconstitutional overreach by the federal government in its tracks. National Review explained:
In Sackett, the EPA argued that the Court should defer to the agency’s “broad and unqualified” reading of WOTUS, such that it might cover all the water in the country. The only limiting principle is a “nexus” test nowhere found in the statute, requiring an assessment of aggregate effects of all “similarly situated” waters on the local ecosystem of a body of water that is or could be navigable. Whatever that is, it is not law. All nine justices were unanimous in rejecting the EPA’s “nexus” test. The Court thus finally ruled in favor of property owners who had been fighting the agency for 19 years over whether they could move dirt and rock onto water that was on the opposite side of a road from a non-navigable creek that feeds into a once-navigable lake, on the theory that the aggregate effect of the Sacketts’ body of water when combined with an unconnected fen would harm the lake.
Justice Alito’s opinion for a five-justice majority in Sackett finally settled the definition of WOTUS, adopting the rule proposed by the four-justice plurality in Rapanos: “only those relatively permanent, standing or continuously flowing bodies of water forming geographical features that are described in ordinary parlance as streams, oceans, rivers, and lakes.” Adjacent waters “must be indistinguishably part of a body of water that itself constitutes ‘waters’ under the CWA,” a rule requiring “a continuous surface connection . . . so that there is no clear demarcation between waters and wetlands,” even if that connection is sometimes broken by “low tides or dry spells.”
While technically a 5-4 decision, the Court's ruling was unanimous in judgment.
Despite this, Democrat Senators still had some comical hot takes blaming the decision on alleged partisan capture of the Court.
First, Senate Democrat Leader Chuck Schumer called the Court the "MAGA Supreme Court." Dan McLaughlin points out that the current makeup of the Supreme Court includes Justices appointed by 5 different presidents of both parties.
All nine justices rejected the standard proposed by the EPA. The 5-4 split was over less expansive readings of the statute. https://t.co/1Oi9L9AGj8— Dan McLaughlin (@baseballcrank) May 25, 2023
Sheldon Whitehouse, the Senate's resident dark money conspiracy theorist, also had to weigh in, saying that, "Polluters paid for this Court. This is part of their reward." Ironically, as conservative pundit Comfortably Smug pointed out, Senator Whitehouse himself has questionable connections to climate groups that he writes legislation in favor of.
The decision was 9-0, Sheldon— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) May 25, 2023
But speaking of bought and paid for, doesn't your wife take money from a climate group while you write climate legislation?? 🤔 https://t.co/5YTrMXk3He
Democrats don't want the American people to know the real end game behind their opposition to the Court's ruling. Thursday's Supreme Court decision is a set back to the Left's plan to exert as much power as they can over the personal lives of the American people.