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Schumer claims ‘MAGA Supreme Court’ overturned Biden policy, but it was a unanimous decision

By Jimmy Adeel
|
May 29, 2023

The Supreme Court recently issued a ruling on a Thursday that narrows the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) jurisdiction over bodies of water. This decision has sparked a strong reaction from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

Schumer took to Twitter to criticize the Supreme Court's ruling, despite the presence of liberal justices. The ruling, which was unanimous and went against both the EPA and the Biden administration, has been widely viewed as curbing the federal government's authority, as reported by the Daily Wire.

In the ruling, the Supreme Court restricted the EPA's broad interpretation of the "Waters of the United States" (WOTUS), declaring that a water source must have a "continuous surface connection" with significant bodies of water to be classified under the term WOTUS. This decision has been seen as a curb on the federal government's authority, despite the presence of liberal justices in the court.

The consequences of this ruling are likely to disrupt the Biden administration's efforts to regulate bodies of water such as wetlands, lakes, ponds, and other "relatively permanent" waterways.

Schumer's Controversial Labeling

In reaction to the ruling, Schumer posted a critical tweet in which he controversially labeled the Supreme Court as a “MAGA” court, a term commonly associated with political extremism.

"This MAGA Supreme Court is continuing to erode our country's environmental laws," wrote Schumer, adding, "Make no mistake – this ruling will mean more polluted water, and more destruction of wetlands."

In the case that prompted the Supreme Court's decision, plaintiffs Michael and Chantell Sackett, residents of Idaho, was previously prevented by the EPA from constructing a home near a wetland, as reported by Fox News.

"The EPA ordered the Sacketts to restore the site, threatening penalties of over $40,000 per day," stated the majority opinion, penned by Justice Alito. "The EPA classified the wetlands on the Sacketts' lot as 'waters of the United States' because they were near a ditch that fed into a creek, which fed into Priest Lake, a navigable, intrastate lake."

Reactions to Schumer's Comments

Dan McLaughlin, a well-known writer for National Review, questioned Schumer's assertions. He pointed out that the unanimous decision was made by a group of justices appointed by Presidents from Bush to Biden, including one Trump appointee.

Justice Kavanaugh's Perspective

Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who Schumer previously criticized, shared his thoughts on the implications of the ruling for the Clean Water Act.

"By narrowing the act's coverage of wetlands to only adjoining wetlands, the court's new test will leave some long-regulated adjacent wetlands no longer covered by the Clean Water Act, with significant repercussions for water quality and flood control throughout the United States," Kavanaugh noted.

For many political analysts,  Schumer's public descriptions of the Supreme Court as a "MAGA Supreme Court" is seen as an attempt to provoke concern among his supporters and the wider public.

Schumer's Statements and Party Strategy

Schumer's statements and those of other party leaders are often interpreted as efforts to challenge any institution that could potentially limit their party's ability to implement their agenda. Some observers note a contradiction between Schumer's criticism of former President Donald Trump's alleged undermining of democratic norms and his readiness to express skepticism towards institutions that do not align with his party's views.

As a high-ranking member of his party, Schumer's statements carry substantial weight and impact. His public critiques have been key in shaping the narrative around individuals or institutions that may oppose his party's agenda.

White House's Stance on the Ruling

Karine Jean-Pierre, White House press secretary, at Thursday's press briefing, stated that the court's decision "aims to take our country backwards."

"It will jeopardize the sources of clean drinking water for farmers, businesses and millions of Americans," Jean-Pierre stated. "President Biden will use every legal authority available to him to ensure Americans in every state have clean water," she added.

"President Biden will use every legal authority available to him to ensure Americans in every state have clean water," she added.