Cases were few, but one judge was years ahead of her time.
In an earlier post, I tried to figure out when the legal academy first discovered climate changes. As it turns out, it was almost a decade later when the federal courts took notice. Those first climate change cases shed light on how new issues get litigated and how courts respond to new science. My research …CONTINUE READING
The odds against the “children’s case” are bad and getting worse. But there’s a valid insight at its core.
Juliana v. United States, often called the “children’s case,” is an imaginative effort to make the federal government responsible for its role in promoting the production and use of fossil fuels and its failure to control carbon emissions. They ask the court to “declare the United States’ current environmental policy infringes their fundamental rights, direct the …CONTINUE READING
We’ve learned a lot in the past year, some good, a lot bad.
No one can say it’s been a boring year. In many ways, it’s been a worse year than we expected, because the Trump Administration has gone all in on its anti-environmental vision. But there have also been some heartening positive developments. Here are some of the most important things, good and bad, that we’ve learned …CONTINUE READING
Gorsuch doesn’t seem to have a strong agenda in this area, with several pro-environmental rulings.
What could we expect from Neil Gorsuch as a Supreme Court Justice in environmental and energy cases? After reading all the opinions I could find, I’d say the best news is this: He doesn’t seem to have any particular agenda in the area. That distinguishes him from some past appointees such as Clarence Thomas, who …CONTINUE READING
Justice Scalia’s death greatly expands the maneuvering room for liberal judges.
There’s already been a lot written about how Justice Scalia’s untimely death will affect pending cases, not to mention speculation about the possible nominees to replace him. Less attention has been given to the effect on the lower courts. Yet Justice Scalia’s departure gives liberal judges in lower courts more freedom than they’ve had in …CONTINUE READING
2015 was a year of forward movement. Much of that could be in jeopardy this year.
We are at the start of a year of danger for environmental policy. 2015 saw many accomplishments in environmental law: the Administration issued the “waters of the United States” and Clean Power Plan regulations, a Supreme Court ruling in favor of EPA’s cross-state air pollution rule, and the Paris Agreement on climate change. Much of this progress is …CONTINUE READING
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 …CONTINUE READING
A reader sent me a an email from the Coalition of Energy Users trying to find plaintiffs for a challenge to AB 32 implementation. CEU claims to be a grassroots group that does not have a deep-pocket funding source, and that may be true. On the other hand, its interests are so precisely aligned with …CONTINUE READING
For those interested in the state of environmental litigation in China, China Dialogue, a bilingual site on China’s environment, ran an excellent series of articles last month on the topic. I opened the series with an article entitled “Green litigation in China today.” Here is an excerpt. Environmental litigation is difficult business in China. Even …CONTINUE READING
This New York Times article notes why the California Attorney General’s race is very important for our state and national environmental and energy policies. As a close observer of that office’s work on environmental issues and as a former California deputy attorney general myself, I believe the reporter is surely correct. This race will matter from …CONTINUE READING