In addition to New Jersey Conservation Foundation’s brief submitted last week to the Supreme Court and the brief submitted by the New Jersey Attorney General’s office that outlined reasons why it should uphold the Third Circuit Court of Appeal’s decision in the pending PennEast Pipeline case, a number of supporting amicus briefs have been filed.
The Council of State Governments, the National League of Cities, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the Institute for Justice, and 19 states all filed briefs supporting the State of New Jersey’s and New Jersey Conservation Foundation’s briefs stating that PennEast is not entitled to drag the state into federal court to condemn public lands and should leave the Third Circuit ruling undisturbed.
A few highlights from these briefs include:
Council of State Governments: “Forcing States to sell carefully managed resources to private parties ‘strikes at the heart of the political accountability so essential to our liberty and republican form of government.’ ” (quoting Alden v. Maine)
States: “State sovereign immunity inheres in our constitutional structure. A delegation exception would be fundamentally inconsistent with that structure. And it would be particularly intolerable in the context of condemnation proceedings, which undermine the States’ core sovereignty interests over state lands.”
Institute for Justice: (writing just on jurisdiction) “But, taken seriously, [the government’s] view of the law would lead to absurd results and flood the courts of appeals with innumerable, purely hypothetical legal challenges.”
The fossil gas pipeline proposal would traverse more than 40 properties preserved by the state and its conservation partners, crossing the Delaware River and more than 4,300 acres of protected land in New Jersey and threatening preserved farmlands and significant natural and historic resources. The Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case on April 28 and determine whether the Third Circuit’s decision will stand.