major questions doctrine
“Major Questions” for Texas (and for the Environment)
Defending clean car regulations and tracking judicial decision-making
Last June, the Supreme Court formally unveiled the “major questions” doctrine in the landmark environmental case West Virginia v. EPA. In rejecting EPA’s plan to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, the Court stated that “agency decisions of vast economic and political significance” (i.e., those …
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The Presidency Under Siege
The current Justices are no friends of presidential power.
As recent scholarship has shown, the Supreme Court has been increasingly aggressive in countering exercises of presidential power. From the environmental perspective, West Virginia v. EPA is the most relevant example of the Court’s efforts to cut the presidency down to size. True, the Court purported to be chastising EPA, part of the bureaucracy. Yet …
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Whose Major Questions Doctrine?
There are two versions of the doctrine. One of them is more dangerous.
When it struck down Obama’s signature climate regulation in West Virginia v. EPA, the Supreme Court formally adopted the major questions doctrine as a way to synthesize prior anti-regulatory rulings. The major questions doctrine (MQD to insiders) has gotten a lot of attention. One thing that’s been overlooked, however, is that there are two versions …
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Does the New Climate Law Expand Regulatory Authority?
It’s not the game changer some people think, but IRA could help in several ways.
There’s been a lot of recent talk about whether the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) indirectly overrides West Virginia v. EPA. The answer to that is probably “no.” However, some IRA provisions will help lawyers defend certain regulatory actions. IRA may also have an important framing effect when courts are considering the reasonableness of agency actions. …
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Emerging Answers to Major Questions
We’re beginning to get a clearer understanding of the major questions doctrine.
In November, I wrote a post posing “some major questions about the major questions doctrine.” In West Virginia v. EPA, Chief Justice Roberts starts supplying some answers to those questions. In particular, he seems to be using a narrower four-factor approach to decide what constitutes a “major question.” As we all know, the West Virginia case …
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The Supreme Court Curbs Climate Action
The ruling in West Virginia v. EPA was about as good as we could expect given the makeup of the Court.
Today, the Supreme Court decided its most important environmental case since 2007. We didn’t dodge the bullet. It’s more than a flesh wound but it didn’t hit any vital organs . Chief Justice Roberts’s majority opinion leaves EPA other options to reduce carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. It also gives a fairly narrow reading …
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Defending EPA’s Authority to Fight Climate Change – at the Supreme Court
Sean Hecht and Ted Lamm co-author amicus brief on behalf of Clean Air Act expert Tom Jorling
This week, Sean Hecht and I filed an amicus brief at the Supreme Court in West Virginia v. EPA in defense of EPA’s authority to effectively regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. Our client is Tom Jorling, a former Senate staffer and EPA official who was directly involved in drafting the Act …
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More on How the Vaccine Mandate Cases May Impact Climate Policy
How much is the Court likely to prune back EPA’s powers?
In a Friday post, I sketched some thoughts about how the Supreme Court’s vaccine mandate rulings might impact EPA’s power to control carbon emissions. I think it’s worth unpacking both the Court’s opinions a little more and the issues at stake in a pending climate change case, West Virginia v. EPA. The Court ruled in …
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A Bad Week for Biden, and for Climate Action
First House progressives, and next conservative Justices, poked a stick in the spokes.
President Biden hoped to go to the international climate summit in Glasgow with momentum behind him. He wanted to reestablish US credibility with concrete progress on climate change. Instead, the ability of the US to take action on climate change is shrouded in doubt. Biden suffered an embarrassing defeat at the hands of members of …
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Climate Policymaking in the Shadow of the Supreme Court
Amy Coney Barrett could shift how the Supreme Court approaches environmental regulations. Policymakers should prepare accordingly
By Ann Carlson, Amelia Keyes, Ben Harris and Dallas Burtraw (Cross-posted at Resources for The Future’s blog The confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to fill the seat left by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has catapulted the Supreme Court back onto the front pages of newspapers around the country. Though press attention has focused on …
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