Supreme Court hears lively debate on protecting wetlands, led in part by Justice Jackson
The Washington Post (July 29, 2013) — Washington is set to receive a new national monument on June 30 when U.S. District Court Judge Robert Wilkins issues a ruling in favor of preservation efforts for the 1,200 square miles of wetlands on the Patuxent River. One reason for the court’s decision is the potential threat that development could pose to the natural habitat for migratory birds, especially waterfowl.
Another important factor, according to the National Park Service, was a need to balance the new monument’s environmental impact with the “undeniability of the idea that every single wetland in Maryland is a national monument.”
That is the key to the U.S. Supreme Court’s upcoming arguments this fall. The justices will hear oral arguments on an appeal to the high court brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland (ACLU) and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. The plaintiffs argue that the plaintiffs have a constitutional right to use the Patuxent River in the way they have done in the past. The case is decided when the Court takes it up.
The stakes of the case are as high as those facing the U.S. Supreme Court, which regularly hears a great number of cases on many issues. In the past, it has been a struggle for the justices to decide to whom they should grant certiorari.
The Supreme Court decided on March 29 to hear arguments in the water rights case concerning the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, which built and operated the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, which carried trade across the Chesapeake Bay. The railroad’s owners claim that they have the right to extract coal tar on the bridge for decades and for rerouted railroads that are to be built for other purposes on the same property.
In the past year, two cases decided by