Trump Court Pick Could Endanger Key Basis for Federal Climate Action

“Amy Coney Barrett’s views on precedent could undermine Massachusetts vs. EPA, the case ruling that greenhouse gases are pollutants under the Clean Air Act.”

“In her time as a law professor at Notre Dame, Judge Amy Coney Barrett wrote extensively and provocatively on the concept of precedent—concluding that it is “not a hard-and-fast rule” that courts stand by what they have previously decided.

Those words are sure to echo through the Senate in the weeks ahead as lawmakers consider President Donald Trump's nominee to replace Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court. They are Exhibit A for those who argue that Barrett's elevation to the high court puts at risk the Supreme Court's seminal reproductive rights ruling, Roe v. Wade.

But advocates of climate action are focused on another landmark ruling they fear is in danger due to the deep stamp Trump is seeking to put on the court before he faces voters this fall. Environmental law scholars believe that with Barrett on the bench, there will be little remaining support on the nation's highest court for upholding what is arguably its most important environmental ruling—Massachusetts v. the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.”

Marianne Lavelle reports for InsideClimate News September 30, 2020.