The justices strongly suggested Tuesday they will throw out an appellate ruling in favor of the environmentalists in their lawsuit against the Los Angeles Flood Control District. At issue is responsibility for billions of gallons of polluted water that flow into the Los Angeles and San Gabriel rivers, and eventually the Pacific Ocean, after heavy rainfalls.
The environmental groups say levels of bacteria from animal feces and toxic metals frequently exceed water quality standards.
But the only real question Tuesday was whether the justices would end the case or give it back to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.