The Supreme Court and Agriculture

The Supreme Court of the United States (“SCOTUS”) has recently had a significant docket of cases with an impact on agriculture.  Two cases have been heard this fall, with another hearing set for next spring.

In Sackett v. EPA, the Supreme Court once again considered the scope of wetlands jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act (“CWA”). Specifically, the Court was asked to revisit its landmark Rapanos ruling which resulted in two tests to establish when a wetland should receive CWA protection.  However, the Court rules are sure to impact the scope of CWA jurisdiction, and potentially impact EPA’s ongoing attempt to redefine the key CWA term “waters of the United States.” To learn more about the case, click here.

In National Pork Producers Council v. Ross, SCOTUS considered the constitutionality of “Prop 12,” a California law regulating space requirements for farm animals.  Specifically, the court heard arguments about the circumstances under which a state government can pass laws that primarily affect the actions of people in other states.  To learn more about this and other similar challenges to Prop 12, click here

The upcoming case involves water rights in the Colorado River basin, an area where drought conditions are already causing existing water allocations to be substantially reduced. In November, SCOTUS agreed to hear two cases involving the Navajo Nation’s potential rights to Colorado River water.  These cases have been consolidated so that there will be only one hearing, which is expected to be in early 2023. To read more, click here

In all three cases, a decision is expected by June 2023.

Author: Elizabeth Rumley

Senior Staff Attorney

Rumley, Beth. “The Supreme Court and Agriculture.Southern Ag Today 2(53.5). December 30, 2022. Permalink