United States Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co., Inc.

Unanimous Supreme Court Victory in Administrative Law Case

Term: 2015 Term
Oral Argument Date: Mar 30, 2016
Vote: 8-0
Opinion: Roberts
Questions Presented: 

Whether the United States Army Corps of Engineers' determination that the property at issue contains “waters of the United States” protected by the Clean Water Act, constitutes “final agency action for which there is no other adequate remedy in a court," and is therefore subject to judicial review under the Administrative Procedure Act.

U.S. Chamber's Position: 

The U.S. Chamber filed a merits-stage amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in a case addressing whether the United States Army Corps of Engineers’ determination that property at issue contains “waters of the United States” protected by the Clean Water Act constitutes “final agency action," and is therefore subject to judicial review under the Administrative Procedure Act.  The Chamber’s brief argues that such jurisdictional determinations are final agency actions subject to judicial review.  The brief further explains that the Corps’ reading of “final agency action” would insulate its decisions from judicial review, which could result in landowners declining to request jurisdictional determinations.  The brief also highlights the importance of transportation projects to our nation’s economy and encourages the Court not to impose yet another roadblock in the completion of projects that are so vital to this country.  

Michael H. Park, William S. Consovoy, and J. Michael Connolly of Consovoy McCarthy Park PLLC served as co-counsel for the amici.

Outcome Content: 

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that a “jurisdictional determination” is final agency action that may be challenged in court under the Administrative Procedure Act.  

Procedural History: 

Cert. petition granted 12/10/2015.

U.S. Chamber amicus brief filed 3/2/2016.

Argued 3/30/2016.

Decided 5/31/2016.