In its unanimous ruling last year in Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency, the Supreme Court held that the EPA’s use of so-called administrative compliance orders, which were basically government commands not subject to judicial review, violated the constitutional guarantee of due process. As the majority opinion put it, “there is no reason to think that the Clean Water Act was uniquely designed to enable the strong-arming of regulated parties into ‘voluntary compliance’ without the opportunity for judicial review—even judicial review of the question whether the regulated party is within the EPA’s jurisdiction.”
It was a major defeat for the government and a victory for all property owners forced to tangle with the federal bureaucracy. And now the case has even inspired a novel. According to the Pacific Legal Foundation, the law firm that represented homeowners Mike and Chantell Sackett before the Supreme Court, bestselling author C.J. Box says his new book Breaking Point “is loosely based on the Sackett case.... It's a cautionary tale of what unchecked bureaucrats can do — and did — to ordinary folks under the radar in fly-over country.”
I’m sure the folks at the EPA will be thrilled to hear it.
For more on the Sackett case, see my article “The EPA vs. the Constitution” and check out Reason.tv’s “Sackett v. EPA: How One Couple’s Battle Against the Feds Might Protect Your Land.”