It didn’t get much attention, but Justice Thomas’s dissent two weeks ago in the Amtrak case was extraordinarily radical, even for him. The case involved a relatively obscure issue about the legal status of Amtrak. Justice Thomas used the occasion for a frontal attack on administrative law, including most of environmental law.. The heart of […]
Justices' Latest Grant of Review Continues Supreme Court's Focus on Environmental Law
To paraphrase former President Ronald Reagan, there they go again. The California Supreme Court on Wednesday granted review in an important case at the intersection of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and one of the state’s most important climate change laws. The case, Cleveland National Forest Foundation v. San Diego Association of Governments, is the […]
Why do we recognize some things as “property” and what does it mean to do so? A hugely influential law review article, published over forty years ago, made a valiant attempt to clarify the nature of property law. Looking back on the article and at developments since then, however, only makes it clearer that “property […]
California's Highest Court Has Far More Environmental Cases Pending Than Ever Before in Its History
The California Supreme Court, perhaps the most influential state supreme court in the nation, has of late become unusually and intensely focused on environmental law. More than ever before in its history, the California Supreme Court currently has before it a large docket of environmental cases that, individually and collectively, promise to alter the legal […]
Justices To Rule on Whether Feds' Depression-Era Agricultural Regulations Unconstitutionally "Take" Farmers' Property Without Compensation
The media and U.S. Supreme Court watchers have understandably focused on the justices’ order yesterday agreeing to review the constitutionality of state same-sex marriage bans–automatically making it the “blockbuster” issue before the Court this Term. Largely overshadowed by that news was the justices’ contemporaneous decision to revisit the interrelated issues of property rights, the Takings […]
EPA announced this week that it will delay issuing both its final Clean Power Plan for greenhouse gases emitted from existing power plants as well as proposed rules for new coal and natural gas fired plants. The agency said it needs the extra time to respond to the 4 million comments it received and to […]
In most ways, 2014 was a good year for environmental protection, with progress on several fronts. True, there are warning signs for 2015 — primarily the Republican sweep of the mid-terms and the Supreme Court’s puzzling decision to review toxics regulations for coal-fired power plants. And of course, there were losses as well as victories, […]
Coal and oil have found legal spokesmen in state houses and law schools.
The NY Times has a disturbing story this morning about the secret alliance between some state attorney generals and the fossil fuel industry. Perhaps the most shocking is an example in which the Attorney General of Oklahoma had a draft by a coal company retyped on letterhead and submitted as his own opinion. The industry […]
Industry has come up with a Scalia-like argument to fight the proposed climate regulations for existing power plants. The problem arises because Congress passed two different versions of section 111(d) without realizing it. The Senate version clearly gives EPA the authority to regulate CO2 under this provision. But opponents of regulation argue that the House version […]
A Texas judge's award of attorney fees is a threat to all public interest groups, liberal or conservative.
A couple of weeks ago, a federal district judge in Texas awarded over $6 million in attorneys’ fees against the Sierra Club. Sierra Club had survived motions to dismiss and for summary judgment, only to lose at trial. The court awarded fees on the ground that the suit was frivolous. The combination of rulings — denying summary […]