SCOTUS Agrees to Hear Global Warming Suit



The Wall Street Journal reports:

The Supreme Court agreed Monday to decide whether eight states and other plaintiffs can proceed with lawsuits that seek to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions by utilities.

The lawsuit is part of a push by some states for “greenhouse gas” regulations that go further than efforts by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The agency started to develop greenhouse-gas standards after the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in 2007 that the EPA has the authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

This case, which dates back to 2004, asks whether states and other plaintiffs can use federal public-nuisance law to seek court-imposed limits on the emissions, called greenhouse gases because they trap heat in the earth’s atmosphere.

The district court originally ruled that this was a political question and thus not proper for judicial consideration. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and held that the case could move forward. 

The main issue, as taken from the petition for cert is:

Whether States and private parties have standing to seek judicially-­fashioned emissions caps on five utilities for their alleged contribution to harms claimed to arise from global climate change caused by more than a century of emissions by billions of independent sources.

Unelected judges setting rates of carbon emissions—yep, that is exactly what we need. If any case cried out for judicial restraint and use of the political question doctrine it is this one.

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