The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution declares that no person shall be “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” This means that if the government infringes on your rights, you are entitled to mount a timely and meaningful defense of those rights in court. It’s one of the cornerstones of our entire legal system, with roots dating back at least as far as the Magna Carta, which declared, “No free man…shall be stripped of his rights or possessions…except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land.”
Unfortunately, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) prefers a less venerable form of justice, as the Supreme Court heard during oral arguments in the case of Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency. At issue is the EPA’s enforcement of the Clean Water Act through so-called administrative compliance orders, which are government commands that allow the agency to control the use of private property without the annoyance of having to subject its actions to judicial review.
The case started four years ago when a married couple named Mike and Chantell Sackett received an EPA compliance order instructing them to stop construction on what was supposed to be their dream home near Priest Lake, Idaho. The government claimed their .63-acre lot was a federally-protected wetland, but that was news to the Sacketts, who had procured all the necessary local permits. Their lot, which is bordered by two roads and several other residential lots, was in fact zoned for residential use.
“Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution does not authorize Congress to legislate in the area of the environment, therefore, it is unconstitutional. All 50 states of the Union have their own version of the EPA as authorized under the 10th Amendment. There is no need for a federal agency. The states of the Union can handle their own environmental needs as authorized by their legislatures.
Congress acts, EPA bureaucrats will continue to inflict potentially devastating economic consequences on communities like Matagorda County and people like the Sacketts. Destroying the economy is no way to save the environment. A thriving economy and a fair judicial system that respects property rights and the Constitution provide the best protection of the environment.
The Constitution was written under a simple principle – positive grant. Â In short, what this means is this: The federal government is authorized to exercise only those powers which are specifically given to it in the Constitution.
Everything else is “reserved to the States, respectively, or to the People.”
The Tenth Amendment Center the federal government has no constitutional authority, whatsoever, to prevent individual states from implementing their own regulations.
Charles Frederick Tolbert EdD NPA
Was a Candidate for US Senate Florida 2016