Tuesday, February 23, 2016

State of New Mexico v. Trujillo

<> State of New Mexico v. Trujillo - 2/19/16. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, Case No. 15-2047. Elisa Trujillo holds a domestic well permit that allows her to divert the Basin's underground water. During an individual adjudication, she and the State disputed her water rights. In 2010, the special master granted summary judgment in favor of the State. On appeal, she presents no developed argument challenging the special master's summary judgment order that served as a basis for the 2015 order. The Panel affirmed the summary judgment in favor of the State.

In Re: U.S. DOD & EPA & the Definition Of WOTUS

<> In Re: U.S. DOD & EPA & the Definition Of WOTUS - 2/22/16. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, Consolidated Case Nos. 15-3751 /3799/ 3817/ 3820/ 3822/ 3823/ 3831/ 3837/ 3839/ 3850/ 3853/ 3858/ 3885/ 3887/ 3948/ 4159/ 4162/ 4188/ 4211/ 4234/ 4305/ 4404.
     This multi-circuit case consists of numerous consolidated petitions challenging the validity of the "Clean Water Rule" recently published by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("the Agencies"). The Clean Water Rule is intended to clarify the scope of "the waters of the United States" [WOTUS] subject to protection under the Clean Water Act. The Act provides that certain specified actions of the EPA Administrator are reviewable directly in the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals. Because of uncertainty about whether the Agencies' adoption of the Clean Water Rule is among these specified actions, parties challenging the Rule have filed petitions in both district courts and circuit courts across the country. Many of the petitions have been transferred to the Sixth Circuit for consolidation in this action. Many of the petitioners and other parties now move to dismiss the very petitions they filed invoking this court's jurisdiction, contending this court lacks jurisdiction to review the Clean Water Rule.
     The movants find support for their position in the language of the Clean Water Act's judicial review provisions, which purport to define circuit court jurisdiction specifically and narrowly. Over the last 35 years, however, courts, including the Supreme Court and the Sixth Circuit, have favored a "functional" approach over a "formalistic" one in construing these provisions. These precedents support the Agencies' position that this court does have jurisdiction. The district courts that have confronted the jurisdictional question in this litigation have arrived at conflicting answers.1 For the reasons that follow I conclude that Congress's manifest purposes are best fulfilled by our exercise of jurisdiction to review the instant petitions for review of the Clean Water Rule.

     Separate concurring and dissenting opinions were filed.