The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is deciding whether several lawsuits challenging the Waters of the United States rule (WOTUS) of the Clean Water Act can proceed as a single case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
If the Sixth Circuit takes the case and keeps up its speedy pace, it could reach a decision as soon as next fall, predicted Paul Beard, counsel in Alston & Bird’s Environment, Land Use & Natural Resources Group who has successfully argued a recent wetlands case before the Supreme Court. That means the administration’s solicitor general would still be in office, Beard noted, to “lay some strong groundwork” in key early filings for a widely expected Supreme Court appeal.
“The government has an incentive to get this through the process as quickly as possible,” Beard said. “I can’t imagine a Republican administration persuasively defending the WOTUS rule if it got to the Supreme Court.”