In August, a judge in South Carolina issued a nationwide injunction against the “Suspension Rule,” which delayed the effective date of the 2015 Waters of the United States rule. Now, a judge in Washington state has gone even further. Judge John Coughenour has vacated the rule.
The core of the new decision is the same as that in South Carolina. By refusing to take comment on the impact of the delay in the effective date of the WOTUS rule, the Administration acted arbitrarily and capriciously and thus violated the Administrative Procedure Act.
For my non-lawyer readers wondering what the difference is between a nationwide injunction against the Suspension Rule and vacatur of the Rule, I’m picturing a petulant President Trump, sitting in a corner. First, his teacher tells him that he can’t play with his shiny new toy – that’s an injunction. Then, still not satisfied, another teacher comes by and takes the toy away completely. That’s vacatur.