09-21-2019  3:07 pm   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Oregon is One of 23 States to Sue Trump on Air Quality Rules

The Trump administration has revoked California's right to set auto emission rules: let battle commence...

New Treasurer Steps In At Multnomah Dems

Self-described ‘boring guy’ Dean Price steps in amid party tensions

Governor's Lawyer Declines Court Nod Amid Uproar

Misha Isaak has declined his appointment by Gov. Kate Brown to the Court of Appeals after the state's public records advocate accused him of unethical behavior

NEWS BRIEFS

Mac Group Returns to GFO Sept. 25

User group to cover email, iCloud and more ...

Johnell Bell Named to National Small Business Leadership Council

Portland small business owner joins National Economic Development Association ...

Buffalo Soldier Dedication to Be Held at Fort Vancouver on Saturday, Sept. 21

The installation will be the first African-American memorial in the city of Vancouver ...

Africa-America Institute Set to Honor Angola, New York Times Magazine, and Netflix Film During 35th Annual Awards Gala

New York City’s premiere Africa event takes place during the week of the United Nations General Assembly’s 73rd session. ...

YouTube Originals Debuts Michelle Obama’s Reacher College Prep Course

‘A Student’s Guide to Your First Year of College’ debuted last week ...

1 dead, 2 injured in Oregon attack; relative arrested

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — Police in Oregon, responding to a 911 call in which they heard gunfire, arrived at a home near Grants Pass to find a dead man and a wounded mother and daughter.The Jackson County Sheriff's Office said Saturday that deputies responding to the call Friday night from...

Nike speedily captures suspected car thief

ROSEBURG, Ore. (AP) — Nike was dogged and fast as it chased down a suspected car thief in Oregon.Nike, named after the Greek goddess of victory and the namesake of the Oregon-based athletic shoe manufacturer, is a police dog.According to Roseburg Police Sgt. Jeff Eichenbusch, Nike had his...

South Carolina tries to keep success against Missouri going

The only player on the Missouri roster who knows what it's like to beat South Carolina is Kelly Bryant, and the quarterback transfer didn't even accomplish the feat with the Tigers.He did it two years ago while playing for Clemson.The Tigers, who welcome South Carolina to Faurot Field for their SEC...

SEC building some of the top defenses in college football

While defenses are still a work in progress around the Southeastern Conference, they still rank as some of the best in college football.Florida leads the nation with 16 sacks, including 10 in the opener against rival Miami. Missouri, Tennessee and Georgia combined to shut out overmatched opponents...

OPINION

Why Would HUD Gut Its Own Disparate Impact Rule?

"You can’t expand housing rights by limiting civil protections. The ’D’ in HUD doesn’t stand for ‘Discrimination’" ...

Despite U.S. Open Loss, Serena Williams Is Still the Greatest of All Time

Serena Williams lost her bid for what would have been her sixth U.S. Open Singles title ...

Do Black Kids Deserve This Treatment in School?

Three White Pearland ISD employees are named in a federal lawsuit after humiliating a 13-year-old Black student by blackening his scalp with a Sharpie ...

Why I’m Visiting the Border

People of color are feeling less safe today and any day when we see the realities of domestic terrorism and racially-motivated acts of violence ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Iowa to re-examine band member claims of abuse by rival fans

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The University of Iowa has reopened an inquiry into allegations that members of the school's marching band were targets of abuse during last weekend's game at Iowa State University.Members of the Hawkeye Marching Band allege that they were subjected to racial slurs and...

Trudeau's support holds after apology for wearing brownface

TORONTO (AP) — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged that he let down his supporters — and all Canadians of color — by appearing years ago in brownface and blackface. Yet the scandal's fallout may be limited in a country without the harsh and still-divisive racial...

'Welcome back' - a reporter's fraught re-entry to Zimbabwe

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — The immigration officer lifted his stamp to put the visa into my passport and I heaved a sigh of relief. But then my passport was taken by a smiling woman who asked, "Have you been to Zimbabwe before?"Through questioning she determined that I had worked as a...

ENTERTAINMENT

It's no joke: women rule the Emmy comedy series category

LOS ANGELES (AP) — When the winner of the best comedy series Emmy Award is announced Sunday, odds are good that a woman will be giving the acceptance speech.An unprecedented number of the seven nominated comedies are from female creators: defending champion "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,"...

Julie Andrews to receive American Film Institute honor

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The American Film Institute is honoring Julie Andrews with its Life Achievement Award.The organization said Friday that Andrews will receive the award at the Gala Tribute on April 25 in Los Angeles. It will be broadcast on TNT.Andrews' acting career has spanned several...

25 years later, a new generation gets immersed in 'Friends'

LOS ANGELES (AP) — "Friends" is getting old. Its fans have never been younger.As the sitcom about six twentysomethings marks its 25th anniversary on Sunday, it has spawned a devoted youthful viewership, especially among tween and teen girls who weren't yet born when it went off the air in...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Elevator briefly breaks down at reopened Washington Monument

WASHINGTON (AP) — The newly upgraded elevator at the Washington Monument stopped working just days after...

Sheriff: 2 dead, 8 wounded in South Carolina bar shooting

LANCASTER, S.C. (AP) — Two men were fatally shot early Saturday at a South Carolina sports bar and eight...

4 die after bus with Chinese tourists crashes in Utah

PANGUITCH, Utah (AP) — Four people died after a tour bus carrying them and other visitors from China...

'Welcome back' - a reporter's fraught re-entry to Zimbabwe

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — The immigration officer lifted his stamp to put the visa into my passport and I...

'I want a future': Global youth protests urge climate action

NEW YORK (AP) — Young people afraid for their futures protested around the globe Friday to implore leaders...

Families struggle to meet Kashmiris lodged in Indian jail

AGRA, India (AP) — Hameeda Begum explained her arduous journey from the Himalayan region of disputed...

McMenamins
Bill Mears CNN Supreme Court Producer

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Obama administration struggled to keep its legal head above water at the Supreme Court Tuesday as it defended a series of federally controlled and managed floods that caused major timber damage along an Arkansas river.

A majority of the justices appeared inclined to believe that the periodic release of water from a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dam project begun two decades ago was a government "taking." That legal designation would require the federal government to compensate the state for damages.

The property rights dispute is narrow and unique in many ways, but could clarify the standards for determining the scope, length of time, and impact of government actions affecting many property owners -- private and public.

At issue for the high court is whether the resulting downstream flooding was effectively "permanent" and therefore a "taking," or was merely "temporary" and only a "trespass."

The state of Arkansas owned the flooded land and had earlier won a $5.6 million judgment. Several on the bench appeared inclined to side with the state.

"You knew when you opened up the dam that this is where the water was going to go," Chief Justice John Roberts said to the federal government lawyer.

"Your position seems to be that if it's downstream, somehow it's not the government's water," said Justice Anthony Kennedy. "It's like the old moral refuge that the rocket designers take: I only make the rockets go up; where they come down is not my concern."

The Army completed the Clearwater Dam in 1948, along the Black River in southeastern Missouri, in response to prior natural flooding. About 110 miles downstream, in northeastern Arkansas, is the Dave Donaldson Wildlife Management Area, 23,000 acres of state-owned riparian land used for duck and game hunting, wildlife management, and timber harvesting.

Federal rules for decades had managed normal release of the water, and provided for both "planned" and "unplanned minor deviations." Beginning in 1993 the Corps launched a series of planned, irregular deviations -- quick releases of water during the summer growing season in part to give upstream farmers more time to harvest their crops without their fields becoming inundated.

Under the unique dynamics of stream flow and hydraulics, the result was higher water levels downstream, and long-term flooding of the state property during the critical growing period. The series of deviations lasted until 2000.

The Constitution's Fifth Amendment forbids "private property be taken for public use without just compensation." Even thought the land in question is state property, all sides have treated the land as "private" in nature for purposes of settling the "takings" dispute.

Attorney James Goodhart, arguing for Arkansas, said 100,000 trees were destroyed in 1999 alone, as the controlled, temporary flooding exacerbated a drought at the time. "This management area sat in water during June, July, into August, basically, stagnated water that choked the oxygen from the roots of these trees," he said.

But Justice Sonia Sotomayor questioned the premise. "The problem with this case," she said, "is that flooding is going to occur naturally anyway. The (federal) government generally builds dams to control that flooding to the benefit of all of the interests along its affected route. And at some point, either the government is going to going to make a decision that's going to help someone and potentially hurt someone. And the question is, are all of those situations going to be subject to litigation."

Sotomayor was later equally tough in her questioning of the federal government.

Justice Stephen Breyer was more blunt. "The problem with a flood is you don't take all the land. You send some stuff in. And the stuff is there for a while, and then it comes back. It's called water."

But Justice Department lawyer Edwin Kneedler got into trouble when he argued the controlled dam releases created only "incidental consequences downstream from the dam as a result of the flowage" and that the flooding was not an "occupation by the government."

"So if the government comes in and tells a landowner downstream that every March and April we are going to flood your property so that you can't use it from now on -- that's part of our plan -- that's a taking for those two months, correct?" interjected Roberts. When Kneedler said no, the chief justice shot back, "That's not a taking?"

Justice Antonin Scalia added that this is clearly a case of "a 'foreseeable and certain' incidental consequence."

Kneedler replied it is "hard to explain" how a government action affecting land 110 miles downstream is "direct" in nature. He also argued the congressional Flood Control Act of 1928 -- resulting in a hundreds of federally funded dams across the country -- would not have become law if the government believed it would to be liable for all its good-faith efforts.

"Of course, that (congressional action) can't overrule the (Constitution's) Takings Clause, can it?" replied Scalia. "I mean, that's nice that Congress doesn't want to be liable," he joked.

Sotomayor said she had "significant problems" with the administration's articulation.

The high court has dealt with several flooding cases over the years examining whether damages should be paid by the government. In a similar 1924 dispute, the high court concluded a taking required an "actual, permanent invasion of the land, amounting to an appropriation of and not merely injury to the property."

It is that gateway question the justices must first navigate: whether the Corps of Engineers' flood deviations were in fact a taking. The compensation questions would come later.

In one of the Supreme Court's most controversial recent eminent domain cases, the majority in 2006 allowed a Connecticut city to condemn a private, mostly residential neighborhood, in order to lease the land to a private developer for a high-end development project. The city justified the seizure as a "public use," generating jobs and higher tax revenues.

Justice Elena Kagan is sitting out the Arkansas appeal and did not attend the one-hour oral arguments. She had litigated the case in some form during her previous job as the administration's solicitor general. Her absence could result in a 4-4 high court tie, which would be a victory for the U.S. government, but would set no precedent.

The case is Arkansas Game & Fish Commission v. U.S. (11-597). A ruling is expected by spring.

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