Supreme Court of the United States
John A. RAPANOS, et al., Petitioners,
June Carabell et al., Petitioners,
United States Army Corps of Engineers et al.
Here is some of the wording that leads me to my beliefs:
Although Supreme Court has sometimes relied on congressional acquiescence in an administrative regulation as evidence that agency's interpretation comports with statute, when there is evidence that Congress considered and rejected the precise issue presented before the Court, Court is loath to replace the plain text and original understanding of a statute with an amended agency interpretation absent overwhelming evidence of such acquiescence. (Per Justice Scalia with the Chief Justice and two Justices joining and one Justice concurring in the judgment.)
*722 The enforcement proceedings against Mr. Rapanos are a small part of the immense expansion of federal regulation of land use that has occurred under the Clean Water Act-without any change in the governing statute-during the past five Presidential administrations. In the last three decades, the Corps and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have interpreted their jurisdiction over “the waters of the United States” to cover 270-to-300 million acres of swampy lands in the United States including half of Alaska and an area the size of California in the lower 48 States. And that was just the beginning. The Corps has also asserted jurisdiction over virtually any parcel of land containing a channel or conduit-whether man-made or natural, broad or narrow, permanent or ephemeral through which rainwater or drainage may occasionally or intermittently flow. On this view, the federally regulated “waters of the United States” include storm drains, roadside ditches, ripples of sand in the desert that may contain water once a year, and lands that are covered by floodwaters once every 100 years. Because they include the land containing storm sewers and desert washes, the statutory “waters of the United States” engulf entire cities and immense arid wastelands. In fact, the entire land area of the United States lies in some drainage basin, and an endless network of visible channels furrows the entire surface, containing water ephemerally wherever the rain falls. Any plot of land containing such a channel may potentially be regulated as a “water of the United States.”