U.S. Supreme Court

Do Epidemic-Based Business Closures by Government Trigger an Unconstitutional “Taking”?

Longstanding U.S. Supreme Court Precedents Indicate the Answer is an Unequivocal “No”

Lately, an increasing number of public and private voices have been raised in opposition to business closures ordered by state and local governments in response to the COVID-19 epidemic.  In many such cases, that opposition has taken the form of lawsuits filed by business owners, claiming a violation of their constitutional rights.  Gun shops across …

CONTINUE READING

Here Today, Gone to Maui

U.S. Supreme Court Issues Environment-Friendly Ruling in Major Clean Water Act Case

This week the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in the Court’s most important environmental law case of the current Term: County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund.  In a somewhat surprising ruling, the justices rejected both sides’ argument over the scope of government authority to regulate water pollution discharges under the federal Clean Water …

CONTINUE READING

Supreme Court Takes a Knick Out of Regulatory Takings Law

Justices Curb Ripeness Rule; Open Federal Courts to Takings Litigation

  In the final, major environmental law decision of its current Term, the U.S. Supreme Court handed property rights advocates a major victory while repudiating an important regulatory takings precedent the Court had itself fashioned and announced 34 years ago. The case is Knick v. Township of Scott.  By a narrow 5-4 vote that split …

CONTINUE READING

Supreme Court Issues Narrow Decision in Dusky Gopher Frog Case, Leaving Key Questions About the Scope of Critical Habitat Unresolved for Now

Fifth Circuit Must Now Review Whether Designated Critical Habitat is “Habitat,” & Whether Agency’s Assessment of Costs and Benefits of Critical Habitat Designation Was Arbitrary

The U.S. Supreme Court filed its opinion in Weyerhaeuser v. U.S. Fish and WIldlife Service today. I’ve posted about this case previously here (when our clinic filed its brief on behalf of preeminent scientists) and here (on the day of the oral argument in the case). (Note that this blog post, like all my posts on this …

CONTINUE READING

Survey: What Are The Most Important Cases for Environmental Law?

A new survey asks environmental law practitioners and academics about which Supreme Court cases they think are the most important to our field. Photo by Hugo Chisholm, Flickr.

I am writing to invite you to participate in a survey that I trust you will find interesting and fun. In 1999 and 2009, JB Ruhl (Vanderbilt Law School) and I surveyed environmental law practitioners and academics about which Supreme Court cases they thought were the most important to our field. The 1999 results were published in ABA’s Natural Resources …

CONTINUE READING

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

How Would a Justice Kavanaugh Approach Environmental Cases?

Reflections From a Review of Kavanaugh’s D.C. Circuit Opinions

As we await the outcome of President Trump’s nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, journalists and legal scholars have been scouring Judge Kavanaugh’s past decisions and legal writings for indications as to how he might resolve pressing legal questions if installed on the Court.  I’m adding here a few thoughts to the many …

CONTINUE READING

Awaiting the Climate Change “Trial of the Century”

Juliana v. U.S. “Atmospheric Trust” Federal Trial Set to Begin in October

The Trump Administration really, really doesn’t want the Juliana v. United States case, a.k.a. the “atmospheric trust litigation,” to go to trial. But despite the persistent efforts of President Trump’s Justice Department to have the Juliana case dismissed, it now appears that the most important currently-pending climate change case in the nation will indeed go to trial …

CONTINUE READING

Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Record on the Environment

He’s highly conservative but has acknowledged the seriousness of climate change

Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump’s choice to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, has been pretty staunchly conservative in his environmental rulings on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in the last 12 years. He voiced serious skepticism about the validity of the Clean Power Plan during oral arguments on the case in 2016. He struck down …

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

TRENDING