Supreme Court Decides - Narrowly - Against Hearing Enviro Search Case

"The Supreme Court declined today to take up the question of whether an environmental inspection of a private property can be viewed as an unconstitutional search and seizure.

It was a close call, with four of the nine justices expressing considerable interest in the issue. Only four votes are needed for the court to hear a case, so they had the power to have forced that outcome if they had wanted to.

Michelle and Robert Huber, a suburban couple in New Jersey, had made the argument that their Fourth Amendment rights were violated after a state official took soil samples without permission.

The state maintained it did not need a warrant to search the property because of authority it was given by the New Jersey Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act.

The inspector had been called to the property in 2002 after complaints from neighbors that the Hubers were disturbing wetlands to the rear of the site."

Lawrence Hurley Reports for Greenwire March 21, 2011.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011