U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court & Environmental Law in 2024

Numerous Key Environmental Issues and Doctrines Will Confront the Justices This Year

As we begin 2024, it’s useful to identify and assess the many environmental issues that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide this year.  It seems likely that the conservative majority of the justices will erode or, perhaps, dramatically jettison longstanding principles of environmental law and policy in the coming months. Summarized below are …

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A(nother) California “Regulatory Takings” Case Heads to the Supreme Court

Newly-accepted case pits private property rights against government land use authority

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear and decide an important “regulatory takings” case from California that has major implications for federal, state and local governments nationwide.  The case is Sheetz v. County of El Dorado, Docket No. 22-1074. Even before the justices granted review in the Sheetz case last Friday, the Court’s 2023-24 …

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Supreme Court Allows Major State, Local Government Climate Change Litigation to Proceed on Merits

Justices Decline to Intervene in Government Lawsuits Seeking Damages from Fossil Fuel Industry

This week the U.S. Supreme Court gave state and local governments a big–if preliminary–legal win against the fossil fuel industry.  The justices declined to take up numerous cases in which government entities have sued oil, gas and coal companies, seeking compensation for the climate change-related damage the jurisdictions they claim to have suffered, and which …

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The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ 10 Most Important Environmental Law Decisions of 2022

Climate Change, Water Rights, Environmental Justice & Federalism Issues Highlighted the Ninth Circuit’s Prodigious Environmental Docket This Year

I’ve shared in previous posts my view that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is–after the U.S. Supreme Court–the most influential court in the nation when it comes to environmental and natural resources law.  That’s true for two related reasons: first, the sprawling Ninth Circuit encompasses nine different states (including California) and …

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Reflections on a Century of “Regulatory Takings” Law

A Century Ago, the Supreme Court Created a Transformative Legal Doctrine Out of Whole Cloth

One hundred years ago this month, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a radical constitutional decision that over the last century has proven enormously consequential in a host of environmental, natural resources and public health contexts.  In the December 1922 decision Pennsylvania Coal Company v. Mahon, a divided Supreme Court created the constitutional doctrine of “regulatory …

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Wetlands, the Clean Water Act & the Supreme Court: the Sacketts Return to Washington

Justices Grant Review (Again) in the Sacketts’ Longstanding Wetlands Battle With the Government

  This week the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case of Sackett v. USEPA, No. 21-454, an important appeal involving the scope of federal authority to regulate wetlands under the Clean Water Act. If the Sackett litigation sounds familiar, it should: the case has been pending for well over a decade, and this is …

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Supreme Court Finds California Labor Access Regulation Works Unconstitutional Taking of Private Property

What Are the Implications of the Cedar Point Nursery Decision for Environmental, Natural Resources & Public Health Programs?

In a closely-watched property rights decision, the U.S. Supreme Court today held unconstitutional a longstanding California regulation allowing labor unions intermittent access to agricultural workplaces for labor organizing purposes.  Reversing a decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, a 6-3 Supreme Court majority ruled that the challenged regulation triggers a per se, compensable government “taking” …

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The Supreme Court’s (Non-)Decision in Major Climate Change Case

BP P.L.C. v. Baltimore Ruling a Technical Win for Energy Defendants–But There’s Less There Than Meets the Eye

Today the U.S. Supreme Court issued its first major environmental decision of the Court’s current Term–and in a climate change case, no less: BP P.L.C v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore. Superficially, the multinational energy corporations sued by the City of Baltimore prevailed, in a 7-1 majority opinion authored by Justice Neil Gorsuch.  But …

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A Preview: Major Property Rights Case Currently Before U.S. Supreme Court

Decision in Cedar Point Nursery Could Imperil Key Health, Safety & Environmental Programs

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a major property rights case from California: Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid.  That litigation arises in a labor law context.  But, depending on how the Court rules, the case could have major, deleterious impacts on a wide array of health, safety and environmental programs. …

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Deconstructing the Supreme Court’s First Environmental Law Decision of the Year (Sort Of)…

…And Newly-Arrived Justice Barrett’s First Majority Opinion

Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its first environmental law-related decision of its current Term–U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service v. Sierra Club.  I say “environmental law-related” because the heart of the case concerns whether certain federal government documents are disclosable to the public under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  But the case …

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