Given the high environmental stakes, it’s not surprising that green groups are applying heavy scrutiny to potential replacements for Justice Antonin Scaliaby Deirdre Fulton, staff writer
The next U.S. Supreme Court justice could hold the fate of the planet in his or her hands, experts say. (Photo: Krissy Venosdale/flickr/cc)
As Washington, D.C. gears up for a Supreme Court showdown, experts this week are predicting that the person chosen to fill Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat on the high court bench will have a huge impact on the fate of the planet.
Common Dreams previously reported that several high-profile cases hang in the balance in the wake of Scalia’s death. But perhaps none will be as closely watched as the case that pits fossil fuel giants and Republicans against environmentalists and the Obama administration.
“Any judge that sides with Big Oil over the American people has no place on our Supreme Court.”
—Jane Kleeb, Bold Nebraska
“In dying,” science journalist John Upton wrote on Sunday, “Scalia may have done more to support global climate action than most people will do in their lifetimes.”
That’s because, as Upton explained in a separate piece, Scalia’s death “means it is now more likely that key EPA rules that aim to curb climate pollution from the power industry will be upheld.”
And those rules—namely the Clean Power Plan (CPP), which aims to reduce carbon pollution from power plants—are necessary for the United States to deliver on the promises made at the COP21 climate summit in Paris in December. Without the CPP, Upton argued, “the U.S. would be left without a credible plan for fulfilling its pledge to reduce its climate pollution by a little more than a quarter in 2025 compared with 2005 levels.”
One of Scalia’s final acts as a Supreme Court justice was to vote in favor of an unprecedented stay on the CPP until it has been reviewed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, with arguments set for June 2.
The D.C. Circuit is likely to issue a decision on the Clean Power Plan this fall, which would put the rule back in front of the Supreme Court in spring 2017.