United States v. Riverside Bayview Homes

Hypertextual Version of Primary Discussion Question 2

What texts does the Court use in Section IV of the opinion to buttress its conclusion?

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The Court cites not only the actual language of the rule in question, but also earlier versions of the rules, as well as the Corps' rationale for the current rule. 

The actual language of the rules in question includes definitions of both "waters of the United States" and "wetlands".   Earlier versions of the rules had adopted a narrower definition of "waters of the United States" and had imposed an inundation requirement on "wetlands".  These texts appear in section I of the opinion.  The Corps' rationale for the current rule, in contrast, appears in section IV.

It is with respect to statutes and other texts related to the legislative process that the Court consults the largest number of documents both qualitatively and quantitatively.   The Court cites not only the actual provision at issue in the statute but also provisions setting forth the statute's purpose, provisions noting that the Corps' jurisdiction over certain discharges of fill is exclusive even though states may be given jurisdiction over certain other discharges, and provisions authorizing the expenditure of federal monies (by an agency other than the Corps) for wetlands research.  The Court cites not only statutory language but also the language of House reports, Senate reports, Conference Committee reports, and debate on the floor of the House and the Senate. 

The Court cites not only statutory language but also the language of House reports, Senate reports, Conference Committee reports, and Citations in the text of the opinion to debate on the floor of the House and the Senate occur when the Court mentions the (defeated) House-language-like Senate amendment and when the Court mentions Senator Baker's description of the breadth of the Senate's definition of waters of the United States.  A citation in a footnote to debate on the floor of the House and the Senate occurs just after the mention of Senator Baker.

The Court also discusses provisions never incorporated into law: language in a bill that passed the House but was rejected by the Conference Committee, as well as House-like language proposed but not adopted in an amendment to the Senate bill.

 

As to court opinions, the Court cites five of its own (majority) opinions in Section IV and no other court cases.  Elsewhere in the opinion, the Court cites a welter of its own majority opinions (and one concurring opinion, by Justice Brandeis) as well as the opinion below of both the District Court and the Circuit Court.


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This page was last updated on 03/22/99.