In the pending lawsuit, GE has argued that provisions of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), commonly known as the Superfund law, are unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Numerous federal courts have held that CERCLA's administrative orders and enforcement provisions are constitutional and provide sufficient due process, according to the brief for environmental amici.

The lawsuit is part of several efforts -- including an estimated $60 million anti-dredging publicity campaign -- by GE to defeat the EPA's plan for a clean up of the Hudson River to remove sediments contaminated with the toxic chemical polychlorinated biphenyls ("PCBs.") Two GE plants discharged PCBs into the Upper Hudson for over thirty years. Environmentalists claim the lawsuit was timed to coincide with the public comment period for the cleanup plan.