law 39


Issue Spotter Essay




Anakin Skywalker lives in Endor, California. As a resident of Endor, Skywalker owns a singlestory house where he resides with his wife, Padme, and their two children, Yoda and Chewie. To pay his mortgage and property taxes, Skywalker owns and operates a small business called Tablemania, a store where he manufactures and sells coffee tables carved by his lightsaber.




Over the years, Skywalker has become world renowned for his critically?acclaimed coffee tables. In fact, just last year, Skywalker was featured on the cover of Table Illustrated as being the number one coffee table designer in the world. Skywalker often gets special orders from Hollywood’s biggest stars (like George Lucas and Harrison Ford), and if you look really closely, you can almost always spot one of his coffee tables as set pieces in movies and television shows. Known for his signature glass tops, all of Skywalker’s tables feature glass so thin and clear that his tables can sometimes appear invisible. In a period of five years, Skywalker went from selling 50 tables a year to selling 1,000 tables a year, and his profits are now quickly approaching one million dollars per year.




However, just when things seemed to be going perfectly for Skywalker, he learned one night while watching the national news that the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) had just passed a regulation calling for the ban of all glass?top coffee tables. Wondering what effect this would have on his business, Skywalker searched for the legislation on the internet, but he couldn’t find anything. Instead, he did additional research and found the following regulation on the EPA’s website:




In 2013, for the safety of all coffee?drinkers, the EPA will regulate all coffee tables to ensure that they are safe for the placement of coffee cups available in the United States. All glass top coffee tables are hereby banned in the United States and any person that produces a glass top coffee table after the effective date of the regulation shall be jailed for ten days and fined $5,000 per illegal coffee table.




When reading more about the EPA, Luke learned that the EPA’s director is appointed by the president, serves a five year term, and can only be removed by the president for good cause. He also learned that the EPA seems to be passing regulations through notice and comment and has an adjudicatory department where he could file a grievance. On the same website, he found 2 hyperlinks. The first hyperlink took him to a statute that created the EPA. It was very long, but Luke saw that the EPA was established by Congress “to protect the environment for the people of the United States.” The second hyperlink took him to something called the Federal Register where he was able to read the entire regulation about coffee tables.




In reading the Federal Register, Luke learned that the regulation was published in the Federal Register on August 1, 2013 and was scheduled to take effect on August 13, 2013. According to the Federal Register, no comments were received by the public on the regulation, and no findings were made by the EPA to establish why a “glass?top” is dangerous Skywalker’s business could be ruined by this regulation, and Tablemania has already sold five glass?top coffee tables since August 13.


1. Assume that agents for the EPA come into Skywalker’s store and arrest him. Can the EPA fine and/or jail Skywalker? Explain why you answered yes or no. Also, explain if there is any possible way that he could be jailed.




2. Can Skywalker sue the EPA and challenge the regulation? Assuming he can, how can he go about suing the EPA (discuss all possible courts) and what arguments and facts can he present in order to get the regulation banning glass tops overturned? In answering this question, make sure you discuss the following issues, among others, as Skywalker would advocate them: the Constitutionality of the EPA, the method used to pass the regulation, what type of judicial review may be used, etc.




3. Assuming Skywalker is able to sue the EPA, what defenses will the EPA assert to try and defeat Skywalker’s case? In answering this case, make sure you discuss the following issues, among others, as the EPA would advocate them: the Constitutionality of the EPA, the method used to pass the regulation, the interpretation of the organic statute by the EPA, etc.

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