A certain amount of policy inconsistency is inevitable in any Administration. But the Trump Administration seems to be breaking all records. The Administration does have strong impulses. The trouble is that its goals keep colliding. Here are some examples. Favoring gas at the expense of coal. . . And vice versa. Trump wants to promote […]
Lawsuits will follow
According to a Bloomberg report this morning, the Trump Administration, under new EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, will release a proposal later this week to freeze greenhouse gas emission and fuel economy standards at 2020 levels. The effect is that automakers will face standards of about 35 miles per gallon rather than seeing the standards increase […]
The Supreme Court may be shifting the rules for reviewing agency interpretations of statutes.
In June, the Supreme Court decided two cases that could have significant implications for environmental law. The two cases may shed some light on the Court’s current thinking about the Chevron doctrine. The opinions suggest that the Court may be heading in the direction of more rigorous review of interpretations of statutes by agencies like […]
Court rules for the State in challenge to technology-forcing gun control law
In a case I previewed here, the California Supreme Court has been considering a challenge to a gun control law passed in 2007 that required certain new models of guns use a developing technology called “microstamping” that would enable law enforcement to link a spent cartridge back to the gun that fired it. The gun […]
How do we make environmental progress despite an increasingly unsympathetic court?
Ann Carlson wrote an excellent post about how Kennedy’s departure might impact some key environmental issues. His retirement means that the Supreme Court will move even further to the right and stay there at least until one of the conservatives departs (maybe Thomas, the oldest). The new pick is likely to be another Gorsuch, which […]
Policy reversals are likely to be more frequent in an increasingly polarized society. How should courts respond?
The Trump Administration is doing its best to wipe out Obama’s regulatory legacy. How will the courts respond to such a radical policy change? The philosophical clash between these last two Presidents is especially stark, but this is far from being the first time that agencies have taken U-turns. This is the fifth time in […]
Justice Kennedy’s Recusal Proves Decisive in Preserving Tribes’ Legal Victory
Perhaps the most consequential environmental case of the rapidly-concluding U.S. Supreme Court Term ended this week with a whimper rather than a bang: in a curt one-sentence order, the Court ruled that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ earlier decision in Washington v. United States “is affirmed by an equally divided Court.” The justices split 4-to-4 on […]
A Lot, Potentially, Following the Supreme Court’s Murphy v. NCAA Decision
Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a major decision invalidating a federal statute that had prohibited states from allowing betting on competitive sporting events. Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, is one of those relatively rare Supreme Court decisions that directly affects a substantial portion of the American public. So it’s no great surprise that […]
Can Congress prevent state and federal courts from hearing WaterFix lawsuits?
The journey of California’s proposed delta tunnels project (also known as California WaterFix) has been anything but straightforward and already faces a slew of ongoing legal challenges.[i] Last week, Congress added a different kind of twist when the proposed Department of Interior budget for FY 2019 was introduced in the House Appropriations Committee. The relevant […]
Justices Uphold Water Board’s “User Pays” Fee System Against Constitutional Attack
The California Supreme Court has handed the State Water Resources Control Board a major legal win, rejecting an industry challenge to the “user pays”-based system of funding the Board’s water pollution control system. In doing so, the Supreme Court has fended off yet another constitutional challenge to the manner in which environmental regulatory fees are […]