Politico: Supreme Court denies Trump bid to stall WOTUS case

By Annie Snider | 04/03/2017 10:14 AM EDT

The Supreme Court has denied the Trump administration’s request to stall the ongoing litigation over the Waters of the U.S. rule, potentially complicating the new administration’s efforts to rewrite the contentious regulation.

In a customarily short order, the high court today refused to put on hold a case brought by industry groups challenging a lower court’s decision related to which courts should weigh in first on the litigation.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order in February directing EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to review the Obama administration rule and revise or rescind it. Shortly thereafter, the Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to put its consideration of the case on hold while the administration undertakes this review.

The high court is only looking at the question of judicial jurisdiction — whether challenges to the rule can go straight to appellate court or must first go through district courts — not the merits of whether the Obama administration rule was legal. Opponents of the rule were split on whether the case should be put on hold. Some sided with the Trump administration, while others argued that the jurisdiction question will need to eventually be answered and asked that the case proceed.

However, if the high court rules that the cases must first go through district court, then the nationwide stay of the rule issued by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals would be dissolved.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Supreme Court will set its briefing schedule for the case. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is angling to swiftly review and revise the Waters of the U.S. rule, hoping to have a new one finalized by end of year.

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