Rapanos v. United States: Evaluating the Efficacy of Textualism in Interpreting Environmental Laws

Covington, Courtney
August 2007
Ecology Law Quarterly;2007, Vol. 34 Issue 3, p801
Academic Journal
Rapanos v. United States is the third in a series of important cases addressing the extent to which the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers may regulate wetland areas under the Clean Water Act. Although no opinion commanded a majority of the Court, the decision revealed deep divisions among the justices regarding approaches to statutory interpretation. Justice Scalia `s text-based approach contrasts sharply with the more traditional techniques applied by Justices Kennedy and Stevens. Justice Scalia `s application of textualism, however, serves to constrain the Clean Water Act in a manner that undermines its purpose. The Rapanos decision, therefore, exemplifies the way in which comprehensive environmental laws are particularly susceptible to hamstringing if subjected to a purely textualist interpretive approach.


Related Articles

  • Public Comment Period for Joint Rapanos Guidance Extended.  // National Wetlands Newsletter;Jan/Feb2008, Vol. 30 Issue 1, p21 

    The article announces the extension of the public comment period by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in the Rapanos vs. United States case. The U.S. EPA, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have teamed-up...

  • SAVE OUR SONORAN, INC. V. FLOWERS: NAVIGABLE WATERS AND SMALL HANDLES IN THE DRY, DRY DESERT. Howard, Gordon H. // Environmental Law (00462276);Summer2005, Vol. 35 Issue 3, p605 

    A square-mile block of the Sonoran Desert on the fringe of the Phoenix Metropolitan Area seems an unlikely place to apply the section 404 dredge and fill provisions of the Clean Water Act (CWA). While the United States Army Cows of Engineers (Corps) asserted jurisdiction over a proposed dredge...

  • NSSGA Seeks Changes in EPA Rule. Kuhar, Mark S. // Rock Products;May2014, Vol. 117 Issue 5, p46 

    The article reports on the Clean Water Act Jurisdictional Rule proposed through collaboration between the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPS). Topics include the benefits of the rule for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' regulation for...

  • New Regulations to Improve Wetland and Stream Compensatory Mitigation. Hough, Palmer; Sudol, Mark // National Wetlands Newsletter;Jul/Aug2008, Vol. 30 Issue 4, p1 

    The article examines the newly revised regulations issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the governing compensatory mitigation to improve wetlands and streams under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. The new regulation, that was issued...

  • Implementing the New Ecosystem Services Mandate. Ruhl, J. B.; Salzman, James; Goodman, Iris // National Wetlands Newsletter;Mar/Apr2009, Vol. 31 Issue 2, p11 

    The article discusses the impact of the compensatory mitigation regulation issued by the Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on April 10, 2008 in the U.S. According to the authors, the new regulation offers an important opportunity for improving compensatory...

  • After SWANCC, the Fourth and Fifth Circuits Dispute Federal Jurisdiction over Non-navigable Waterways. Sislin, Caitlin // Ecology Law Quarterly;2004, Vol. 31 Issue 3, p745 

    Focuses on the position of the U.S. Fourth and Fifth Circuit Courts concerning the case filed against Deaton and In re Needham in 2003. Impact of the ruling of the Supreme Court on the lawsuit filed by the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County against U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the...

  • BORDEN RANCH PARTNERSHIP and ANGLEO K. TSAKOPOLOUS, PETITIONERS v. UNITED STATES ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS and ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY: on writ of certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the ninth circuit.  // Supreme Court Cases: The Twenty-first Century (2000 - Present);2009, p1 

    The article presents information on U.S. Supreme Court case Borden Ranch Partnership and Angelo K. Tsakopoulos, petitioners v. United States Army Corps of Engineers and Environmental Protection Agency. The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided Court.

  • EPA, CORPS PROPOSE REFORMS.  // ENR: Engineering News-Record;08/21/2000, Vol. 245 Issue 8, p16 

    Reports reforms proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers on regulations for construction activities in wetlands in the United States. Clarification of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act; Context of the Tulloch rule; Implications for wetland protection;...

  • Changes in wetlands rules impact developers. Nash, David E. // Crain's Cleveland Business;03/12/2001, Vol. 22 Issue 11, p25 

    Reports the impact of wetlands regulation on real estate developers in Ohio. Limitation of the Army Corps of Engineer's jurisdiction to regulate the filling of wetlands; Context of the emergency rules proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Need for the developers to file a...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics