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High Court dismisses appeal over private lawsuits in environmental racism case.

The Supreme Court dismissed a case on whether private citizens have a right to sue a federal agency over regulations that result in racial discrimination.

At issue was the future of an environmental racism Environmental racism is intentional or unintentional racial discrimination in the enforcement of environmental rules and regulations, the intentional or unintentional targeting of minority communities for the siting of polluting industries such as toxic waste disposal, or the  lawsuit brought by residents of the predominantly African American African American Multiculture A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa. See Race.  city of Chester, Pennsylvania, who claimed the state has allowed a disproportionate number of waste treatment facilities to be built in their section of Delaware County since 1987.

The residents argued that the state has allowed five facilities in their city and only two in the rest of the county, which is predominantly white. The residents sought to block the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (often abbreviated PA DEP, or just DEP) is state agency in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. See also
  • List of Pennsylvania state agencies
 (DEP DEP Deposit
DEP Deputy
DEP Department of Environmental Protection
DEP Dependent
DEP Departure
DEP Depot
DEP Deposition
DEP deployed (US DoD)
DEP Data Execution Prevention (computer security) 
) from granting another permit for a waste treatment facility in Chester. (Seif v. Chester Residents Concerned for Quality Living, 132 F.3d 925 (3d Cir. 1997), cert. granted (U.S. June 8, 1998) (No. 97-1620), dismissed (U.S. Aug. 17, 1998).)

Rather than ruling on the merits on the merits adj. referring to a judgment, decision or ruling of a court based upon the facts presented in evidence and the law applied to that evidence. A judge decides a case "on the merits" when he/she bases the decision on the fundamental issues and considers  of the appeal, the court dismissed the case as moot after the permit for the facility was revoked this summer. The plant will not be built. (Associated Press, Supreme Court Dismisses `Environmental Racism' Case, Wash. Post, Aug. 18, 1998, at A8.)

The Court was to decide whether private parties can seek enforcement of federal regulations governing Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VI bars racial bias in federally financed projects. DEP receives federal funds Federal Funds

Funds deposited to regional Federal Reserve Banks by commercial banks, including funds in excess of reserve requirements.

These non-interest bearing deposits are lent out at the Fed funds rate to other banks unable to meet overnight reserve

"Title VI is a crucial weapon in fighting environmental racism," said University of California, Los Angeles UCLA comprises the College of Letters and Science (the primary undergraduate college), seven professional schools, and five professional Health Science schools. Since 2001, UCLA has enrolled over 33,000 total students, and that number is steadily rising. , law professor Erwin Chemerinsky. But he added that proving discriminatory intent is a tough obstacle in these cases.

The Supreme Court examined the right-to-sue issue in 1983 in Guardians Association v. Civil Service Commission of the City of New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
 (463 U.S. 582). A splintered Court then ruled private lawsuits may go forward when intentional discrimination is alleged, but the Court did not reach the question of the viability of suits that allege discriminatory effect.

The Chester trial court dismissed the residents' case in 1996, but the Third Circuit Court of Appeals revived it, finding that the residents could sue for discriminatory effect under Title VI.

DEP officials appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that the Third Circuit improperly made it possible for private citizens to try to enforce in federal court EPA EPA eicosapentaenoic acid.

eicosapentaenoic acid

EPA, See acid, eicosapentaenoic.

 regulations that can only be enforced by the agency itself.

Jerome Balter, a lawyer for the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, which represents the Chester residents, said he was surprised the Supreme Court even agreed to hear the case. He said no conflict exists among the circuits.

"The Third Circuit was the ninth circuit court to find that private citizens have a right to sue in these kinds of cases," Balter said.

The Department of Environmental Protection, however, argued precisely the opposite-that no lower court has dealt head-on with the discriminatory effect issue. In seeking review, the state agency said the Guardians Court "left the Third Circuit... without guidance," which led that court to "erroneously [hold] that Title VI authorizes a private action based upon a showing of only discriminatory effect."
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Copyright 1998, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Brienza, Julie
Date:Sep 1, 1998
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