Supreme Court to hear key climate-change appeal

posted at 3:35 pm on December 6, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

The Supreme Court signaled its interest in the debates over global warming, the use of courts to impose costs on energy producers, and potentially the reach of executive branch agencies.  The court accepted an appeal from eight states over a lawsuit that would have forced by court order energy producers to lower greenhouse-gas emissions, a blow to the plaintiffs that wanted to limit energy production by filing public-nuisance lawsuits:

The U.S. Supreme Court will take on another landmark global warming lawsuit, the high court announced today.

The court will hear an appeal next year from electric utilities in the high-profile American Electric Power v. Connecticut case. Power companies are challenging a lower court ruling that allowed states and environmental groups to move ahead with a public nuisance lawsuit seeking to force the utilities to slash their greenhouse gas emissions.

Monday’s decision marks a victory for the utilities -– American Electric Power Co., Duke Energy, Southern Co., Xcel Energy Inc. and the Tennessee Valley Authority -– that want the court to toss out the decision that could force them to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

That wasn’t their only victory, either. Justice Sonia Sotomayor recused herself from the case.  While serving on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, Sotomayor heard arguments and deliberated on the case.  She had left the panel to go to the Supreme Court before the 2nd Circuit issued its ruling upholding the lower court ruling.  That was enough to force her off the case now.

The recusal leaves a 4-3 split between conservatives and liberals on the Court and Anthony Kennedy in the middle.  It takes four Justices to accept a case, which means that at least half of the remaining court believes that there is enough room to argue for overturning the appeals court ruling.  However, if the court splits along ideological lines (which would hardly be surprising) and Kennedy votes to uphold the lower court ruling, a 4-4 split would keep it in effect.  That’s certainly a possible outcome here, although John Roberts might be expected to try hard to persuade the other justices to rethink their approach, post-Kelo, perhaps.

Interestingly, the Obama administration joined the effort to get Supreme Court review of the appellate decision.  They argued that the court overstepped its jurisdiction by treading on ground already being plowed by the EPA.  Having the courts issue ad hoc rulings on emissions could create confusion and delay, which Obama hopes to pre-empt through regulation expansion.  That may give the court an opening to address the notion of EPA authority for increased regulation, although that might take an amicus brief from Congress to produce.

The case could represent an end to courtroom warfare by environmental groups for their global-warming hysteria agenda.  It will be worth watching, especially for the impact of Sotomayor’s recusal.

Update: The 4-3 split would be conservatives 4, liberals 3, and Anthony Kennedy.  The way I originally wrote it was confusing.


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Is the greatest scam of the century finally coming to an end?

John the Libertarian on December 6, 2010 at 3:38 PM

That wasn’t their only victory, either. Justice Sonia Sotomayor recused herself from the case. While serving on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, Sotomayor heard arguments and deliberated on the case.

She is one wise Latina.

portlandon on December 6, 2010 at 3:39 PM

Cant believe we have to win politically and judicially on these pet issues of democrats.

PrezHussein on December 6, 2010 at 3:41 PM

The Supreme Court signaled its interest in the debates over the discredited theory of global warming

FTFY gratis amigo.

ted c on December 6, 2010 at 3:44 PM

I want to hear a lawyer ask why the temperature of the Earth has fluctuated throughout history, even before humans existed.

And what caused it, specifically.

If the plaintiffs can’t answer that quandry definitively and scientifically-reproducibly, throw out the case.

Because it is then all mere speculation.

profitsbeard on December 6, 2010 at 3:45 PM

The recusal leaves a 4-3 split between liberals and conservatives on the Court and Anthony Kennedy in the middle.

Isn’t it the other way? 4-3 conservative over liberal with Kennedy set to play his usual role?

jwolf on December 6, 2010 at 3:46 PM

Congratulations to the power companies, I hope the AGW gets another nail in their coffin.

fourdeucer on December 6, 2010 at 3:49 PM

Plus one recusal.

Minus one recusal?

mankai on December 6, 2010 at 3:49 PM

It’s amazing the extent that the liberals have been taken over by this AGW hoax. They swallowed it hook, line and sinker.

MrX on December 6, 2010 at 3:49 PM

But the science(or lack of) will have nothing to do with it. It will be the law. This could go very badly.

Limerick on December 6, 2010 at 3:53 PM

I’m still trying to figure out what the end game for the leftist trash is, in this? Is the suing of cigarette companies supposed to be my blueprint?

Sue the cigarette companies to force them to raise prices, to force people to use less. Where a product that might cost $1 per pack now costs $7. Enrich a few pieces of lawyer trash at the expense of 25% of the population, mostly lower income. As a followup, get a supposed republican governor to place a special tax on small cigarette companies that weren’t sued for breaking the law.

So we sue the power companies, I guess, to get that typical $100 per month electric bill up to $700, to force people to use less. This excess cash is funneled to the lawyer trash suing these companies. As Excel is one of these companies, their rates will skyrocket, in order to pay the settlements. Dakota Electric meanwhile not being part of the lawsuit, will now be able drastically undercut Excel’s rates in Minnesota. Tim Pawlenty, in stating that this situation isn’t fair to Excel, will then call for a special tax on Dakota Electric.

This country is so ****ed…

MNHawk on December 6, 2010 at 3:54 PM

It’s amazing the extent that the liberals have been taken over by this AGW hoax. They swallowed it hook, line and sinker.

MrX on December 6, 2010 at 3:49 PM

Some fell for the sloppy science and bought it, but many of them simply went along with it as a means of marxist wealth distribution within our country and from one country to another.

slickwillie2001 on December 6, 2010 at 3:57 PM

What is this “global warming” you speak of? It’s pretty chilly out here today…

d1carter on December 6, 2010 at 3:58 PM

This could go very badly.

Limerick on December 6, 2010 at 3:53 PM

Didn’t the highest courts in England discredit the AGW movement as an unsubstantiated religion? It could go very well on this side of the pond, too.

John the Libertarian on December 6, 2010 at 3:58 PM

Is the greatest scam of the century finally coming to an end?

John the Libertarian on December 6, 2010 at 3:38 PM

Let’s hope so but, they’ll have another scam soon after.

esnap on December 6, 2010 at 3:59 PM

Didn’t the highest courts in England discredit the AGW movement as an unsubstantiated religion? It could go very well on this side of the pond, too.

John the Libertarian on December 6, 2010 at 3:58 PM

whoa, yes I believe you are right. If that’d be the case here, then the use of tax money via cap and trade is akin to…..a church and state NON separation!

Naaawwwh…Jefferson just meant to keep the 10 Commandments outta public schools when he put that in the Constitution.///

ted c on December 6, 2010 at 4:02 PM

It’s amazing the extent that the liberals have been taken over by this AGW hoax. They swallowed it hook, line and sinker.

MrX on December 6, 2010 at 3:49 PM

They don’t care and never did. It was the beauty of the whole scam. Tax money bought the “science” with the promise the spigot would remain open and in return, big gov types got the doomsday reason to trump all individual rights and property and expand government. It’s falling apart thanks to those who didn’t take the bait.

cartooner on December 6, 2010 at 4:04 PM

This could go very badly.

Limerick on December 6, 2010 at 3:53 PM

It could also end up being a great benefit to farmers, auto companies and every other industry that is in the crosshairs of the AWG crowd.

fourdeucer on December 6, 2010 at 4:04 PM

Why don’t we let the wise latina speak…

We must all be raaaaaaaaaccciiiiiissst!!~!~!

Kuffar on December 6, 2010 at 4:06 PM

Hide the resign?

DrAllecon on December 6, 2010 at 4:06 PM

Catastrophic AGW is going through a cascade failure. This last year has been one long diet of schadenfreude. I hope it goes on and on :)

theCork on December 6, 2010 at 4:35 PM

Consumer protection organisations have demanded a suspension of the EU ban on incandescent light bulbs, citing official tests that showed the new compact fluorescent lamps to be dangerous if broken.

The energy saving bulbs show mercury levels 20 times higher than regulations allow in the air surrounding them for up to five hours after they are broken, according to tests released Thursday by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA).
“If the industry can’t manage to offer safe bulbs, then the incandescent bulbs must remain on the market until autumn of 2011,” said Gerd Billen, the leader of the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (VZVB).
His group encouraged the federal government to push for a suspension of the ban in Brussels until there was a safe and practical alternative.

J_Crater on December 6, 2010 at 4:37 PM

Today, the husky, pony-tailed blogger is weeping.

rightside on December 6, 2010 at 5:00 PM

Global Warming: a tale told by idiots, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

jaime on December 6, 2010 at 5:24 PM

What’s left of the global warming losers are graping at straws. My prediction is coming true.

The Expert Knows

HAExpert on December 6, 2010 at 5:28 PM

David Doniger, a climate attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council representing environmentalists in the case, said the outcome will have major implications for greenhouse gas litigation.

A climate attorney? WTF is a climate attorney?

I tell ya, sometimes it’s not hard to think that lawyers are the lowest form of life.

darwin on December 6, 2010 at 5:38 PM

Monckton mocks the Cancun cancan of wealth seizures by climate-change faceless bureaucrats.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/12/06/moncktons-mexican-missive/

onlineanalyst on December 6, 2010 at 5:55 PM

Monckton mocks the Cancun cancan of wealth seizures by climate-change faceless bureaucrats.

As usual, Moncton graces us with his British highbrow eloquence. Underneath all that mask, not a bit of science.

oakland on December 6, 2010 at 7:30 PM

If the federal regulatory overreach isn’t checked, and soon, it’s not going to matter.

hillbillyjim on December 6, 2010 at 7:41 PM

Oops, I almost forgot.

Please forgive my oversight.

D R I L L

B A B Y

D R I L L !

hillbillyjim on December 6, 2010 at 8:21 PM

What is this “global warming” you speak of? It’s pretty chilly out here today…

d1carter on December 6, 2010 at 3:58 PM

No, this is the global warming that we speak of:

The January–October 2010 map of temperature anomalies shows that anomalous warm temperatures were present over much of the world, with the exception of cooler-than-average conditions across the higher-latitude Southern oceans, the eastern equatorial and northern Pacific Ocean, parts of Argentina and Chile, central Russia, and Mongolia. The combined global average land and ocean surface temperature for the January–October period tied with 1998 as the warmest such period on record. This value is 0.63°C (1.13°F) above the 20th century average. Separately, the average worldwide land surface temperature ranked as the second warmest January–October on record, behind 2007. The worldwide average ocean surface temperature tied with 2003 also as the second warmest such period on record, behind 1998.

The Northern Hemisphere land surface temperature was the second warmest on record for January–October. The ocean temperature was also the second warmest such period on record. The Northern Hemisphere as a whole—land and ocean combined—had its warmest January–October on record.

In the Southern Hemisphere, both the land surface temperature and ocean surface temperature ranked as the fourth warmest January–October since records began in 1880. The Southern Hemisphere as a whole tied with 2002 and 2003 as the second warmest January–October on record.

oakland on December 6, 2010 at 8:27 PM

Ojesus has been methodically strangling the coal industry, with a little help from the various federal agencies under his highly objectionable thumb.

A little bit of Googling will tell you all you need to know about where this bogus administration really stands on so-called energy independence.

hillbillyjim on December 6, 2010 at 8:28 PM

@ cane-loader:

I enjoyed reading your posts last night; I just didn’t have time to get in here and get involved.

Best wishes.

hillbillyjim on December 6, 2010 at 8:30 PM

With all her recusals she’s a part time SCOTUS at best. So glad we’re getting our money’s worth.

redfoxbluestate on December 6, 2010 at 8:38 PM

With all her recusals she’s a part time SCOTUS at best. So glad we’re getting our money’s worth.

redfoxbluestate on December 6, 2010 at 8:38 PM

But, but, but…she’s such a wise Latina/

hillbillyjim on December 6, 2010 at 8:40 PM

If the federal regulatory overreach isn’t checked, and soon, it’s not going to matter.

hillbillyjim on December 6, 2010 at 7:41 PM

Yup. It’s been nothing but one can of worms after another. It’s so bad, I’m asking my Rep and Senators to introduce a ban on cans and worms; at the least, a ban on can openers.

If I don’t make jokes about this stuff, I’d be pulling my hair out by the roots. Congress can no more delegate it’s legislative powers than I can delegate my bathroom visit necessities.

Woody

woodcdi on December 6, 2010 at 8:58 PM

Oh, by the way, could someone call Algore and have him send some of that vaunted Global Warming my way?

It’s 14° F here now; high today was 25° and we’re hell for broke going for 11° overnight.

Reg’lar high for this day; an average 51° F.

Any more of this Gorebull Warming and I’ll have to break out the long-john beachwear.

hillbillyjim on December 6, 2010 at 9:14 PM

oakland on December 6, 2010 at 8:27 PM

If thou had been paying attention you would know that the records you cite are unreliable do to tampering to show predicted results.

They are meaningless.

Slowburn on December 6, 2010 at 9:22 PM

Second thoughts on ‘warmest year’: What Happened to the ‘Warmest Year on Record’: The Truth is Global Warming has Halted

The nonsense about 2010 being the warmest year on record was a prediction that has not been realized.

slickwillie2001 on December 6, 2010 at 9:24 PM

oakland on December 6, 2010 at 8:27 PM

P. T. Barnum was right.

hillbillyjim on December 6, 2010 at 9:27 PM

Also interesting: Author Claims We’re in the Grip of a Mini-Ice Age

“…They include renowned international climatologist Mike Lockwood of the University of Reading. In 2007 he said the cyclical change in the Sun’s energy was not responsible for climate change. In April this year, writing in the New Scientist Magazine, he did a U-turn and said it was. After a study, he and his team concluded that recent cold British winters have coincided neatly with the biggest fall off in the sun’s activity for a century, contradicting the accepted view that carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gases are likely to warm our climate.”

slickwillie2001 on December 6, 2010 at 9:31 PM

SO, you’re sure this is GOOD news? Scares the crap outta me. Convince me more!

American Elephant on December 7, 2010 at 3:31 AM

If thou had been paying attention you would know that the records you cite are unreliable do to tampering to show predicted results.

They are meaningless.

Slowburn on December 6, 2010 at 9:22 PM

Slowburn,

I take it you are an expert and can share with me/us the un-”tampered” temperature values. Please feel free; I can’t wait to see them!

oakland on December 7, 2010 at 6:45 AM

slickwillie2001 on December 6, 2010 at 9:31 PM

Slickwillie, have you had a chance to actually read the article written by Mr. Lockwood that was referenced in the article to which you supplied the link? You might want to, if you haven’t.

And, that article in the (baised) British publication made it clear that it was referencing the climate locally, not globally. Did you know that global warming was never anticipated (by experts) to occur evenly, and that numerous locations were expected to cool as the average planetary temperature increases?

oakland on December 7, 2010 at 6:53 AM

The nonsense about 2010 being the warmest year on record was a prediction that has not been realized.

slickwillie2001 on December 6, 2010 at 9:24 PM

Could it be because the year isn’t over yet? You might want to read the NOAA quote I posted last night.

Also, instead of reading the British commentaries, you might want to read some scientific publications. They have a completely different take from those British articles to which you refer.

oakland on December 7, 2010 at 6:57 AM

Also, instead of reading the British commentaries, you might want to read some scientific publications. They have a completely different take from those British articles to which you refer.

oakland on December 7, 2010 at 6:57 AM

Why read anything? It’s been proven time and time again that the temperature data has been manipulated, and “facts’ just made up out of thin air. How many times has the IPCC recanted on one of their doomsday predictions? IPCC members are now so bold as to say outright that global warming doesn’t have anything to do with warming, but with wealth redistribution … taking money from richer countries and giving it to poorer countries under the guise of fighting “climate change”.

Go right ahead and believe what you want while ignoring all the evidence to the contrary … the evidence is overwhelming and no, I won’t link anything. It’s been linked a million times already for you but you ignore it.

There’s even stuff coming out from Wikileaks now showing the deception behind this farce.

You’ll notice Climategate and now Wikileaks never have anything that corroborates “climate change”. If it was such a certainty Climategate would have been a dud, but instead it revealed the deceitful machinations behind the world’s greatest scam.

darwin on December 7, 2010 at 7:57 AM

As usual, Moncton graces us with his British highbrow eloquence. Underneath all that mask, not a bit of science.

oakland on December 6, 2010 at 7:30 PM

Translated:

Unlike the science brought to us by the legal trash suing power companies.

You nutcases are identical in the way you just spam threads with every conceivable shortcoming you yourself posess.

Ya right. Tons of “science” brought to us by a Political “Scientist” known as “oakland.”

Maybe you could really convince the Hot Air crowd, by linking to a certain Graphic Artist, employed by the PR firm of DeSmog Blog. Little Green Retard is certainly smitten by the “science” of Peter Sinclair.

MNHawk on December 7, 2010 at 10:27 AM

Gorebull Warming. I like the sound of it. Thanks to whomever came up with that term.

Woody

woodcdi on December 7, 2010 at 12:49 PM

Go right ahead and believe what you want while ignoring all the evidence to the contrary

I don’t consider what you write to be “evidence to the contrary”, Darwin. Please provide some references to scientific work that provides “evidence to the contrary”.
I thank you in advance.

oakland on December 7, 2010 at 5:55 PM