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AG Derek Schmidt: U.S. Supreme Court sides with Kansas in WOTUS lawsuit

Release Date: Jan 24, 2018

TOPEKA - (January 24, 2018) - Kansas and other states followed the proper legal procedure when they challenged the federal Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday.

In 2015, Kansas and eight other states filed a lawsuit challenging the WOTUS rule in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia. But the Obama administration argued the states' lawsuit was improper and instead should have been filed directly in a federal appellate court, not in a district court. The Georgia district court agreed and dismissed the lawsuit on procedural grounds. Kansas and the other plaintiff states appealed the dismissal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. The various challenges to WOTUS around the nation were later consolidated in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, which agreed with the position of the federal government.  The case was then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In its unanimous ruling Monday, the Supreme Court held that under the Clean Water Act challenges to the WOTUS rule must be brought in a federal district court, and not directly in a federal appellate court.

"We used the correct legal process, and we also are right on the law," said Schmidt, noting that a federal appeals court ultimately blocked the federal government from implementing WOTUS. "We are grateful for the Supreme Court confirming our approach to this challenge of an overreaching federal regulation. We will continue to defend Kansas interests in this case."

The case is National Association of Manufacturers v. Department of Defense, Case No. 16-299.

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