dormant Commerce Clause

Update: U.S. Supreme Court Denies Review in California Low Carbon Fuel Standard Case

Justices Decline to Address Constitutionality of LCFS

The U.S. Supreme Court today denied certiorari in closely-watched cases in which the constitutionality of California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) was being challenged.  The LCFS is, in turn, an integral part of the state’s multifaceted strategy to reduce California’s aggregate greenhouse gas emissions as required under AB 32, the state’s landmark 2006 climate change …


California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard: Before the Supreme Court

Will the Justices Choose to Decide the LCFS’s Constitutionality?

You might think that the U.S. Supreme Court, having decided the Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA Clean Air Act case on Monday, was done for the current Term when it comes to environmental law and policy. Think again. Today the justices met in conference to decide whether to grant review in a large number of pending …


Regulators Between a Rock and a Hard Place: The Extraterritorial Dilemma

Current dormant commerce clause doctrine creates an incredible dilemma for state lawmakers. No matter what they do, they are at serious risk of attack under the dormant commerce clause. Here’s an example. Suppose a state wants to move its own electricity generators from fossil fuels to renewable energy. For instance, the state might require that …


Constitutional Issues in Cap and Trade: New Light from an Unexpected Source

At the end of April, the Supreme Court decided an obscure case called McBurney v. Young about state public records law.  Quite unexpectedly, the court’s opinion turns out to be good news for state environmental regulators.  In particular, it clarifies how cap and trade relates to what lawyers call the dormant commerce clause — a …


Supreme Court agrees to hear TX-OK water dispute: Tarrant Regional Water District v. Herrmann

On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review Tarrant Regional Water District v. Herrmann (No. 11-889), an appeal from the 10th Circuit regarding apportionment of the Red River, which forms the southeastern border between Oklahoma and Texas.  At issue before the Court is whether it is “OK” for a Texas water supplier to obtain …


Making Climate Policy While Congress Sleeps

In our system of government, Congress is the institution with the greatest power to address issues of national importance.  Unfortunately, Congress has been AWOL on the issue of climate change. The election has made it marginally more likely that Congress might wake up and take action on climate change, possibly even including a carbon tax …


Previewing This Week’s Constitutional Battle Over California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard

On Tuesday morning, October 16th, attorneys will gather at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit’s majestic courthouse in downtown San Francisco to argue one of the nation’s most important, currently-pending environmental cases.  The case is Rocky Mountain Farmers Union v. Goldstene, and the issue is the constitutionality of California’s Low Carbon Fuel …


Two Cheers for a Hybrid Sales + Carbon Tax

Dan’s thoughtful post on the Hybrid Sales + Carbon Tax is worth careful consideration.  My initial thought is that Dan underestimates it one way, but might overestimate it in two ways. I think he underestimates its political viability.  He argues that “voters don’t like taxes, and sales taxes are especially easy for them to notice …


What foie gras and low carbon fuels have in common

Many of you may have heard of California’s ban on foie gras. The ban was signed into law in 2004 by that notorious hippie, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, but did not take effect until 2012. Fewer of you may be aware of the current litigation over California’s low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) program. Litigation concerning both …


In the Supreme Court’s Crosshairs: the Ninth Circuit’s Environmental Jurisprudence

All eyes will be on the U.S. Supreme Court this week, as the justices conclude their current Term and, among other things, issue their long-awaited decision(s) on the constitutionality of the newly-enacted federal healthcare law. But the Supreme Court also has some other, key decisions to make as to whether to take up four controversial environmental cases from …