CCL President Robert S. Peck explains why facts matter in his latest posting on the Appellate Advocacy Blog, a part of the Law Professor Blogs Network. In A Focus on the Facts, Peck uses the very different factual contexts utilized by the parties in Sackett v. EPA, No. 21-454, pending in the U.S. Supreme Court to explain why law goes hand in hand with potentially sympathetic facts. 

     In Sackett, the Court will determine the meaning of "wetland," for purposes of the EPA's regulatory authority. Although this might seem like a straightforward question that should not be influenced by factual disputes, both parties have sought to portray the other's position as insensible based on the facts. The Sacketts tell a tale of a homeowner seeking to build a modest home on their property, which is zoned as residential, and for which they face "crushing fines" for interfering with navigable waters, even though there are no streams, rivers, lakes, or other body of water on their property. The EPA, on the other hand, says that the Sacketts have a commercial construction and excavation business and are well aware that their property is part of a fen that drains under the surface into wetlands and a lake. 

      The Supreme Court, likely to be split on the issue, will issue an opinion before the end of June. However, it seems almost certain that the majority and the dissenters are likely to adopt the facts that suit their position, giving readers the same, very different rendition of what is at stake.