Litigation

Constitutional Rights in a Pandemic

When does public health override individual rights?

Lockdowns and social distancing impinge on activities that are protected by the Constitution. That’s been true in many states of church services and in some states of abortion. When the cases have come before they courts, they have often turned to a 1905 Supreme Court case decision, Jacobson v. Massachusetts, which upheld a state law …

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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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On This Date in History: Property Rights Won Big in the Supreme Court

June 29, 1992 was a great day for property rights advocates. But what came later wasn’t so good.

On this date in 1992, the property rights movement achieved its greatest victory in the form of the Supreme Court’s Lucas ruling. The campaign to protect property rights seemed to have huge momentum.  But things didn’t work out that way. For property rights advocates, Lucas turned out to be a false dawn. Mr. Lucas owned …

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Fancy Dancing on the Appalachian Trail

How to Use Textualism to Evade Statutory Texts

The Supreme Court’s decision in Cowpasture case allows gas pipelines to cross the Appalachian trial. The ruling didn’t get much attention because of its timing. It came down the same day as Bostock, which outlawed employment discrimination against gays and transsexuals. Bostock featured a big battle over the meaning of textualism. But Cowpasture was also …

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Trump’s Border Wall, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and Separation of Powers

U.S. Court of Appeals Rules Unconstitutional Trump Administration’s Diversion of $2.5 Billion in Congressionally-Appropriated DOD Funds for Border Wall Construction

Late last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit struck down the Trump Administration’s attempted diversion of $2.5 billion in federal funds Congress had appropriated for the Department of Defense.  The Trump Administration did so in order to finance President Trump’s proposed, controversial border wall at a level Congress had expressly declined …

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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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DC Circuit Restricts “Housekeeping” Regulations

The Trump Administration likes to justify policy initiatives based on vague grants of authority. That’s just become harder.

Earlier today, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decided two cases that add to the legal difficulties the Trump EPA will face in court.  The difficulties relate to two proposed EPA rules that attempt to hamstring  future efforts to impose tighter restrictions on pollution. Both EPA rules rely on vague, general grants of rule-making authority …

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Guest Contributors Matt Lifson, Camila Bustos, and Natasha Brunstein: Redressability of Climate Change Injuries after Juliana

Juliana litigation youth plaintiffs

Juliana Litigation’s Disappointing Result Leaves Room for Future Climate Plaintiffs to Allege Redressable Injuries

In the landmark Juliana litigation, the youth plaintiffs sought a judicial decree telling the federal government to develop and implement a plan to do its part to reduce atmospheric CO2 concentrations to 350 ppm. The Ninth Circuit dismissed Juliana, holding that the youth plaintiffs’ constitutional and public trust claims were not redressable by an Article …

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