The United States Supreme Court delivered a blow to the Trump administration, refusing today to consider pausing a case challenging an Obama-era EPA rule on water protections. The decision comes on the same day the Senate Judiciary Committee is set to vote on the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch, whom Trump appointed to succeed Justice Antonin Scalia (following Senate Republicans’ unprecedented blockade of Obama appointee Merrick Garland).
The rule implemented by Trump’s predecessor would allow the government to place restrictions on businesses and other development plans near small waterways, like ponds and streams. Before development could occur around these waterways, special permits would need to be granted by the Army Corps of Engineers, according to reporting from the Hill.
President Trump opposed the measure, and asked the Supreme Court to pause current litigation on the case on the basis that the current administration was planning to dismantle the executive rule, thus rendering the case moot. Trump signed an executive order earlier this year ordering the Army Corps of Engineers to “revise and reconsider” the rule.
But the Court, in refusing to grant Trump’s motion to pause litigation, essentially told Trump that, until the rule itself is formally revised, it is still permitted to go through the legal process. In other words, the law is not moot due to the intentions of the Trump administration to revise the rule.
The Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments on the case in January, when President Barack Obama was still in the White House. A date for formal arguments has not yet been decided.