Administrative Law

Barrett on Standing & Judicial Deference

Her mentor was Scalia, but her style is more like Souter.

With the help of my research assistant, I’ve collected cases by Judge Barrett dealing with standing issues and deference to administrative agencies.  Both topics are very relevant to the environment.al crisis. You really can’t draw firm conclusions about her views on these doctrines, but you can draw conclusions about her style.  She sticks close to …

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Should a New Congress Use a Deeply Flawed Law to Cancel Trump’s Regulations?

The Congressional Review Act was Newt Gingrich’s brainchild. It should be repealed.

The Congressional Review Act (CRA), part of Newt Gingrich’s “Contract With America”, slumbered for many years in obscurity. Then, in 2017, Congress dusted it off and used it to kill fifteen Obama administration regulations. I’m not the first to ask whether there should be payback if the White House and Senate change hands. There are …

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The Kavanaugh Court and the Environment

A new appointment would make Justice Kavanaugh the swing voter.  Here’s what that would mean for environmental law.

A new appointment by Trump would shift the Supreme Court well to the right, making Brett Kavanaugh the swing voter in many cases. Kavanaugh has clear views about the powers of agencies like EPA. With him as the swing voter, the main strategy used by Obama to make environmental progress would be off limits for …

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Pandemic Lessons in Governance

What have we learned about dealing with mega-risks?

The response to the COVID-19 pandemic has driven home some lessons about governance. Those lessons have broader application — for instance, to climate governance.  We can’t afford for the federal government to flunk Crisis Management 101 again. Here are five key lessons: 1. Effective leadership from the top is indispensable. Major problems require action by …

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Enforcing NEPA’s Forgotten Mandate

The courts have failed to enforce a core requirement of NEPA. That leaves the White House.

The Democrats have adopted an ambitious platform for environmental protection, full of innovative legislative initiatives.  Here’s another idea Biden and Harris should consider, making use of the oldest of the modern environmental statutes. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is best known for requiring environmental impact statements. While they have enforced that requirement, the courts …

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Climate Litigation 2020

Here’s the state of play and some thoughts about the future.

Trump Administration has been a fertile source of litigation. With the election only about three months away, this seems like a good time to see how things stand in climate-related case.  In a nutshell, climate litigation has been a growth industry under Trump, and the Administration has done poorly in court. The Current State of …

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Members of Congress Oppose Trump Administration’s Attempt to Revoke California’s Clean Car Standards

UCLA Law’s Frank G. Wells Environmental Law Clinic files a brief on behalf of 147 members of Congress in the D.C. Circuit

California has long led the fight against pollution from passenger vehicles, setting its first car emissions standards in 1966 before federal rules were established. After the Clean Air Act was passed in 1970, California retained authority to establish a series of more stringent vehicle emissions rules—with the most recent iteration of greenhouse gas emissions standards …

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California Appellate Court Upholds Water Board’s Broad Drought Response Authority

Court of Appeal Rejects Water Users’ Legal Challenge to Board’s Emergency Regulations, Temporary Curtailment Orders

California’s Court of Appeal for the Third Appellate District recently upheld the State Water Resources Control Board’s temporary emergency drought response regulations–enacted in 2014-15–as well as related curtailment orders the Board issued to specific water users to implement those regulations.  In doing so, the Water Board rejected a legal challenge agricultural water users brought against …

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Happy Birthday, Chevron Doctrine!

The Chevron doctrine has been a keystone of administrative law. But now it’s under siege.

Thirty-six years ago today, the Supreme Court decided the Chevron case.  The case gives leeway to agencies when their governing statutes are unclear or have gaps. It’s probably the most frequently cited Supreme Court opinion ever. But now the Chevron doctrine is under fire from conservatives, who used to be its strongest advocates. Here’s how …

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Lessons from the DACA Ruling

The Court’s ruling could have important implications for environmental cases.

The Supreme Court’s ruling in Department of Homeland Security v. UC Regents was great news for 700,000 “Dreamers” who would otherwise face deportation. It also has important  implications for administrative law — and for environmental law cases in particular.  Here are three main takeaways. Requiring Reasoned Explanation.  Chief Justice John Roberts reinforced the principle that …

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