Rutledge: U.S. Supreme Court Protects Private Property Rights

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May 31, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today praised the U.S. Supreme Court for unanimously protecting private property owners, a position Rutledge had urged in a friend of the court brief. 

The federal government argued that landowners could not challenge a government decision that their private property contained “waters of the United States” and therefore required permits for certain activities. But the Court held that the government’s decision represents “final agency action” and can be challenged in court.

“The federal permitting process is hamstringing landowners across Arkansas and the country with enormous costs and redundant paperwork,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Today’s decision from the Supreme Court allows private property owners, who are being forced or intimidated into unnecessary compliance, to quickly challenge the federal government on these decisions.”

The case, Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co. Inc., centers on a North Dakota peat mining company that sought to challenge a government determination that its mining plans would require costly Clean Water Act permits. Rutledge was part of a coalition of 23 states that filed an amicus brief with the Court, supporting the North Dakota company.

In a separate case, Rutledge and 12 other states are challenging the government’s definition of “waters of the United States” as vague and radically overbroad. 

About Attorney General Leslie Rutledge

Leslie Carol Rutledge is the 56th Attorney General of Arkansas. She is the first woman and first Republican in Arkansas history to be elected to the office. Since taking office, she has begun a Mobile Office program, a Military and Veterans Initiative, a Metal Theft Prevention program and a Cooperative Disability Investigations program. She has led efforts to teach Internet safety, combat domestic violence and make the office the top law firm for Arkansans. Rutledge also re-established and co-chairs the National Association of Attorneys General Committee on Agriculture.

A native of Batesville, she is a graduate of the University of Arkansas and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. Rutledge clerked for the Arkansas Court of Appeals, was Deputy Counsel for Gov. Mike Huckabee, served as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Lonoke County and subsequently was an Attorney at the Department of Human Services before serving as Counsel at the Republican National Committee. Rutledge and her husband, Boyce, have a home in Pulaski County and a farm in Crittenden County. 

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