‘MAGA Supreme Court’: SCOTUS Water Ruling Sparks Outrage From Democrats, Despite Liberal Justices Concurring

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Democrats slammed the Supreme Court Thursday as “MAGA” and “extremist” for a ruling that rolled back the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to regulate under the Clean Water Act (CWA)—despite the liberal justices concurring in the judgement.

In Sackett v. EPA, the Supreme Court unanimously sided Thursday with a couple who has spent 15 years battling the EPA after the agency barred them from building a home on land they own near Priest Lake, Idaho, claiming it was subject to regulation under the CWA because it contained wetlands. Though opinions were split 5-4 on what test should be used for determining when wetlands are able to be regulated as “waters of the United States,” the decision against the EPA’s current rule was unanimous: nevertheless, Democrats took to Twitter with suggestions that the Court is “captured,” “MAGA,” and paid off by corporations.

“This MAGA Supreme Court is continuing to erode our country’s environmental laws,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer tweeted. “Make no mistake—this ruling will mean more polluted water, and more destruction of wetlands. We’ll keep fighting to protect our waters.”

“The far-right activist SCOTUS just voted to gut the Clean Water Act and hand a major win to big cooperate polluters,” wrote Democratic New York Rep. Adriano Espaillat. “We must fight to #ProtectCleanWater and achieve environmental justice for all.”

Democratic Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Ed Markey of Massachusetts called the Supreme Court paid for by “polluters” and “captured,” respectively. (RELATED: Supreme Court Rolls Back Biden EPA’s Expansive Water Regulation)

Whitehouse has been one of the foremost advocates of imposing a code of ethics on the Supreme Court and Markey reintroduced a bill to pack the court just last week.

The decision prompted some to go as far as calling for court packing.

“A corrupt SCOTUS majority just undid decades of Clean Water Act progress to benefit big polluters,” Democratic Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib said. “This extremist, far-right activist Court is legislating from the bench. If we’re going to fight back and protect our communities and environment, we have to expand the Court!”

The League of Conservation Voters also called for court packing, calling the decision in Sackett v. EPA “just the latest attack on our environment and families by this captured, extremist Court.”

“Congress must fix the damage done by SCOTUS by passing new legislation to #ProtectOurWaters — and to #ExpandTheCourt,” the group tweeted.

Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Amy Coney Barrett and Chief Justice John Roberts joined Justice Samuel Alito’s majority opinion, which held that the CWA applies to wetlands that are “as a practical matter indistinguishable from waters of the United States,” maintaining a “continuous surface connection.”

Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Ketanji Brown Jackson preferred a broader interpretation. Kavanaugh wrote in an opinion joined by the three liberal justices that “the Court’s new test will leave some long-regulated adjacent wetlands no longer covered by the Clean Water Act.” Kagan, writing separately in a concurrence joined by Sotomayor and Jackson, expressed concern that the more narrow test advanced by the majority turned the Court into “the national decision-maker on environmental policy.”

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