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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Citizens to Preserve Overton Park, Inc. v. Volpe case brief

Citizens to Preserve Overton Park, Inc. v. Volpe case brief
401 U.S. 402, 91 S. Ct. 814, 28 L. Ed. 2d 136, 2 ERC 1250 (1971)

CASE SYNOPSIS: Petitioners sought review of a decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, which affirmed summary judgment for respondent Secretary of Transportation in suit alleging respondent violated § 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act of 1966, 49 U.S.C.S. § 1653(f), and § 18(a) of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1968, 23 U.S.C.S. § 138, by approving construction of an interstate highway through a public park.

FACTS: Petitioners, private citizens and conservation organizations, claimed that respondent Secretary of Transportation violated § 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act of 1966, 49 U.S.C.S. § 1653(f), and § 18(a) of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1968, 23 U.S.C.S. § 138, by authorizing expenditure of federal funds for construction of an interstate highway through a public park. Petitioners argued, inter alia, that respondent's action was invalid without formal factual findings and that he failed to make an independent determination but merely relied on the judgment of a local city council. In evidence of the independence of and basis for his decisionmaking, respondent introduced litigation affidavits at trial. Petitioners offered rebuttal affidavits. The district court granted summary judgment for respondent, and the court of appeals affirmed. On certiorari, the Court reversed and remanded to the district court, holding that respondent was not required to make formal findings, but judicial review based solely on litigation affidavits was inadequate under § 706 of the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C.S. § 706, which required an agency's "whole record" as the basis for review.

CONCLUSION: The Court reversed the judgment below, and remanded for further proceedings in the district court, because, although respondent was not required to make formal findings, judicial review based solely on litigation affidavits was inadequate.

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