Supreme Court Update: Four Major Cases for the New Term

Date: September 14, 2022

The 2022 term begins in October and will see several major cases for small business owners

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2022 term will begin in a few weeks, and they will be hearing several cases that could make major differences for small businesses. Here are four cases where NFIB submitted amicus briefs arguing for the interests of small businesses against unfair regulations and stifling mandates. 

Sackett v. EPA  

  • On October 3, for the second time in 10 years, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Mr. and Mrs. Sackett’s 15-year battle with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over their right to build a 3-bedroom house. The EPA claims a semi-soggy portion of the Sacketts’ Idaho property is a protected wetland under the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) law.  
  • NFIB has been supporting the Sacketts in their legal battle since 2012, when SCOTUS first heard arguments in their case. NFIB’s brief argues that EPA’s WOTUS powers are limited to truly “navigable” interstate waters.  
  • Potential Small Business Impact: The decision could affect small business owners’ ability to maintain, modify, improve, or build on their land wherever water, marshes, or soggy land are or could be present in the future.  

National Pork Producers v. Ross 

  • In 2018, California voters approved Proposition 12, which imposed strict rules on the treatment of pigs and barred the sale in California of any pork produced under what the state deemed to be cruel animal standards. SCOTUS will decide whether California’s attempt to impose its animal cruelty standards on pork producers, suppliers, and farmers nationwide is an unconstitutional violation of the Commerce Clause.
  • Potential Small Business Impact: Proposition 12 creates an insurmountable financial burden for small farmers, wholesalers, and retailers. NFIB’s brief argues that a failure to strike down Proposition 12 would obstruct interstate commerce, effectively allowing California to dictate consumer laws for the rest of the country.  

Wilkins v. United States  

  • In Wilkins, SCOTUS will decide how much time a property owner has to sue the U.S. government in a property dispute. In this case, the U.S. Forest Service opened a portion of Mr. Wilkins’ private road to the public without telling him they had done so. When he filed suit against the government, they tried to dismiss Wilkins’ claim by arguing that he waited too long to sue.  
  • Potential Small Business Impact: NFIB’s brief argues that without leniency on statute of limitations, property owners will be unable to protect private property rights.  

Bittner v. United States  

  • Government agencies often try to stack as many violations of a law on small businesses as they can to pressure business owners to settle cases. 
  • Mr. Bittner, during his dispute with the U.S. government over a failure to report a foreign bank account, argued that agencies should avoid assigning an absurd number of violations when calculating civil penalty calculations.  
  • Potential Small Business Impact: NFIB’s brief argues that federal agencies like OSHA should be lenient in finding multiple statutory and regulatory violations. 

The NFIB Small Business Legal Center acts as the voice for small business in the nation’s courts and the legal resource for small business owners nationwide. Learn more here.  

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