U.S. Supreme Court

A Big Win for Climate Regulation

The DC Circuit overturns Trump’s effort to hamstring regulation of carbon from power plants.

The D.C. Circuit issued an opinion today knocking out Trump’s Affordable Clean Energy rule.  The Trump rule was a rollback of Obama’s keystone climate initiative, the Clean Power Plan.  The majority opinion plus dissent take up 185 pages, and I won’t try to describe it all here.  Briefly, here’s what the appeals court ruled and …

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Climate Change, Big Energy & The U.S. Supreme Court–What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

BP v. Baltimore Is First Environmental Case To Come Before Newly-Reconstituted High Court

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in its first environmental case of the 2020-21 Term.  That case, BP PLC v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, involves an important, nationwide climate change litigation trend, and will provide the first indication of the post-Ginsburg Court’s attitude towards environmental law and litigation generally. The Baltimore case is …

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Rethinking Presidential Administration

Giving the President more control of regulation has been a good thing — up to a point.

Conservatives love to complain about faceless bureaucrats, but blaming bureaucrats for regulations is hopelessly out of date.  When Elena Kagan was a professor, she wrote an article called “Presidential Administration.”  The article applauded her former boss Bill Clinton for seizing greater control of the regulatory process away from agencies. That trend has accelerated to the …

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The Year Ahead

Nine key developments to watch for on the environmental front.

2020 was a tumultuous year. Hopefully, 2021 will be balmier.  Widespread use of vaccines will hopefully tame the COVID-19 pandemic, and maybe the political world will settle down a bit too.  Here are nine key things to watch for in terms of environmental policy. The Georgia runoff elections. Currently, the Republicans look likely to control …

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The Ninth Circuit’s 10 Most Important Environmental Law Decisions of 2020

Climate Change, California v. Trump Cases Lead the List

This is the second of three year-end posts on the most important environmental law decisions in 2020 from the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and California Supreme Court.  (The key U.S. Supreme Court rulings were the focus of yesterday’s post, and tomorrow’s will feature California Supreme Court decisions.) Today, …

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The U.S. Supreme Court’s Most Important 2020 Environmental Law Decisions

Clean Water Act, CERCLA, Native American Law and Trump’s Border Wall Lead the List

It’s become customary for critics and observers from many disciplines to publish a wide variety of lists at year’s end, nominating the most important or best movies, music, plays, etc. of the preceding year.  Why not follow that tradition in the fields of environmental law and policy? With that objective in mind, I plan over …

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What Could Trump Do with Four More Years?

He’s already rolled back almost everything Obama did.  What next?

Given that Trump has rolled back nearly all of Obama’s regulatory efforts, what further harm could he do?  Quite a bit as it turns out.  If you agree with him that regulation achieves nothing and only stands in the way of prosperity, that should make you very happy. To begin with, Trump can do more …

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Climate Policymaking in the Shadow of the Supreme Court

Amy Coney Barrett could shift how the Supreme Court approaches environmental regulations. Policymakers should prepare accordingly

By Ann Carlson, Amelia Keyes, Ben Harris  and  Dallas Burtraw (Cross-posted at Resources for The Future’s blog The confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to fill the seat left by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has catapulted the Supreme Court back onto the front pages of newspapers around the country. Though press attention has focused on …

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Taming Textualism: A Guide for Environmental Lawyers

How to Argue Cases to Conservative Judges

Textualism is the dominant method of interpreting statutes among conservative judges.  It purports to base interpretation on the “ordinary meaning” of the statutory language. This approach ignores traditional tools of statutory interpretation like considering what was actually said in Congress. Ignoring what Congress actually intended seems odd to me. Still, lawyers have to make arguments …

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Removing Climate Liability Plaintiffs from State Court Could Create Logjam in Federal Courts

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to decide a nuanced issue of procedural law that could create a loophole which would dramatically expand the reach of federal appellate jurisdiction and prevent climate plaintiffs from suing oil companies in state court.

As recent extreme heat waves, hurricanes, and wildfires across the country have elevated public concern about the widespread and harmful effects of climate change, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari this month in a climate liability case called BP P.L.C. v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore. In short, the City of Baltimore sued a …

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