Supreme Court

The Endangered Species Act in the Supreme Court: Oral Argument Today in Weyerhaeuser v. US Fish & Wildlife Service

Post-Argument Panel at Georgetown Law Will Feature Advocates

Oral argument in Weyerhaeuser v. U.S, Fish & Wildlife Service is this morning, the first day (and first argument) of the new Supreme Court term. The Court will be short-handed, with only eight Justices hearing the case.  I’ll be attending the argument and speaking on a post-argument panel at Georgetown Law School, along with other advocates …

CONTINUE READING

What Kind of Conservative is Kavanaugh?

Half a dozen observations on our (probably) soon to be junior Justice.

I wanted to add a few words about Kavanaugh in light of Ann Carlson’s excellent post a few minutes ago. No doubt we’ll be seeing more about his views after people have had time to read his opinions and some of his law review writing. But there are a few points I would add after …

CONTINUE READING

UCLA Law Wells Environmental Law Clinic Files U.S. Supreme Court Brief on Behalf of Scientists in Endangered Species Act Case

Scientists’ Brief Argues Federal Agencies and Courts Must Use Science in Interpreting “Habitat” Under the Endangered Species Act; Clinic Clients Include Profs. Stuart Pimm & E.O. Wilson, Along With Three MacArthur “Genius” Award Recipients & Ten Other Esteemed Scientists

Congress enacted the Endangered Species Act in 1973 to protect species at risk of extinction.  Congress viewed species extinction as an urgent threat requiring urgent, decisive action.  The result was a bipartisan law designed to apply scientific knowledge and expertise to managing the threats to U.S. species.  While the Act has been controversial, and characterized …

CONTINUE READING

When is unoccupied habitat “critical”?

The Supreme Court will hear a challenge to the critical habitat designation for the dusky gopher frog

Controversy and litigation have been pervasive since adoption of the Endangered Species Act in 1973, but the Supreme Court has been a relatively minor player in the law’s development. By my count, the Court so far has only addressed the substantive merits of an ESA claim three times (in TVA v Hill, 437 US 153 …

CONTINUE READING

Fencelines

The Supreme Court rules on how to define a parcel of property under the Constitution

The Supreme Court ruled today on Murr v. Wisconsin, a takings case that could have potentially had a major effect on land use regulation.  The Supreme Court has ruled that a “taking” of private property exists if the state prohibits all economically beneficial use  of property.  Naturally, lawyers have gleefully litigated the question of how …

CONTINUE READING

Gorsuch and the Environment: A Closer Look

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

Predicting How Neil Gorsuch Would Rule on Environmental Issues

If he’s ever confirmed by the U.S. Senate

Donald Trump just announced his nomination to replace Justice Antonin Scalia.  Here are some very preliminary thoughts. Assuming Trump’s nominee, Neil Gorsuch, is confirmed by the U.S. Senate (by no means a certainty), what do we know about how he would be likely to rule on environmental questions?  As far as I can tell, he …

CONTINUE READING

The Clean Power Plan — Low Cost, High Benefits

Despite claims by industry and conservatives, the CPP’s costs are completely manageable.

The Supreme Court’s stay of EPA’s Clean Power Plan was a surprise, and a questionable action on many grounds.  It now seems clear that the stay — along with much of the political fuss about the CPP — was based on very questionable economics. In terms of the stay, a team of economists at Resources …

CONTINUE READING

Supreme Court Deals Obama Administration Blow in Clean Water Act Case

Supreme Court allows lawsuits early in Clean Water Act permitting process, as Justice Kennedy ominously questions the Act’s reach

The Supreme Court today dealt another blow to the Obama administration in a Clean Water Act case. The Court’s unanimous opinion in United States Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co., No. 15-290, addressed the finality of an Army Corps “approved jurisdictional determination” (JD) on whether a particular parcel of property contains “waters of the …

CONTINUE READING

The Next Justice and the Fate of the Clean Water Act

A comment by Justice Kennedy reminds us of just how much is at stake.

Every once in a while, we get reminded of just how much damage the conservative Justices could wreak on environmental law. Last week, Justice Kennedy created shock waves with a casual comment during oral argument. In a case that seemed to involved only a technical issue about administrative procedure, he dropped the suggestion that the …

CONTINUE READING

TRENDING