In its unanimous ruling last year in Sackett v.
Environmental Protection Agency, the Supreme Court held that
the EPA’s use of so-called administrative compliance orders, which
were basically government commands not subject to judicial review,
violated the constitutional guarantee of due process. As the
majority opinion put it, “there is no reason to think that the
Clean Water Act was uniquely designed to enable the strong-arming
of regulated parties into ‘voluntary compliance’ without the
opportunity for judicial review—even judicial review of the
question whether the regulated party is within the
It was a major defeat for the government and a victory for all
property owners forced to tangle with the federal bureaucracy. And
now the case has even inspired a novel. According to the Pacific
Legal Foundation, the law firm that represented homeowners Mike and
Chantell Sackett before the Supreme Court, bestselling author C.J.
says his new book
Breaking Point “is loosely based on the Sackett
case…. It’s a cautionary tale of what unchecked bureaucrats can
do — and did — to ordinary folks under the radar in fly-over
I’m sure the folks at the EPA will be thrilled to hear it.
For more on the Sackett case, see my article “The
EPA vs. the Constitution” and check out Reason.tv’s “Sackett v.
EPA: How One Couple’s Battle Against the Feds Might Protect Your