Opinion: WOTUS just entered the mosh pit

“Cry ‘Havoc!’, and let slip the dogs of war” —  William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar
Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor did not actually quote Shakespeare last month in her unanimous decision for the court over which jurisdiction(s) should hear cases regarding the Obama Administration’s Waters of the United States rule that attempts to clarify which wetlands and streams receive automatic protection under the nation’s Clean Water Act … but she could have. Writing for the court, Sotomayor says:

“Congress has made clear that rules like the WOTUS Rule must be reviewed first in federal district courts.”

Last July, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decided it had national jurisdiction over the WOTUS deliberations and slapped a stay on the law taking effect pending its ruling. In doing so, the Sixth Circuit pushed aside WOTUS cases in federal district courts including North Dakota where a preliminary injunction was issued preventing WOTUS from going into effect across several states. These include North Dakota, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota, Wyoming and New Mexico.