- Scott Bullock, Institute for Justice
On June 2, 2014, the Obama Administration took action that would require a 30 percent cut in carbon emissions at fossil fuel-burning power plants by 2030. Some industry representatives and state officials contend that the goals are unattainable, and the required shut-down of even a fraction of the coal-burning power plants required will put several power grids at risk, particularly during the upcoming winter season. Regulators site cost-benefit claims of seven to one – that is, for every dollar expended on compliance, seven dollars will be saved in other areas, largely health care. Are the rules likely to be finalized? If so, how must such reductions be accomplished? How much latitude will states and private actors have in meeting the new requirements?
The Federalist Society's Environmental Law & Property Rights Practice Groups presented this panel on "Do the EPA’s CO2 Rules Go Too Far?" on Saturday, November 15, during the 2014 National Lawyers Convention.
Putting aside criminal cases, the stakes for all sides are perhaps never higher than in a class action case – mere certification of a class can increase the pressure to settle exponentially. But, of course, the class must be properly composed in order to be certified. In the recently-decided Wal-Mart v. Dukes case, the U.S. Supreme Court revisited some of the basic requirements for certification of a class of plaintiffs, including commonality. Other requirements of Rule 23 certification may surface in ongoing litigation stemming from the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, where defense attorneys are arguing, among other things, that the settlement agreement is being administered and interpreted overly broadly to include numerous class members who have not suffered any injury caused by BP. Our experts will discuss recent developments in class action litigation, including a pending petition for cert in the BP case. The Federalist Society presented this panel on September 4, 2014.
National Press Club
On June 23, 2014, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency. The question in this case was whether the EPA permissibly determined that its regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from new motor vehicles triggered permitting requirements under the Clean Air Act for stationary sources that emit greenhouse gases (“GHGs”).
Justice Scalia delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to parts I and II, which held that the EPA could not require a source to obtain a Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) or Title V permit solely on the basis that the source emits GHGs. The Court also concluded, however, that the EPA could reasonably interpret the Clean Air Act to allow for the regulation of GHG emissions from sources already subject to regulation under the PSD and Title V program.
Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy joined the opinion of the Court in full. Justices Thomas and Alito joined the opinion as to parts I, II-A, and II-B-1. Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined as to Part II-B-2. Justice Breyer filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, in which Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined. Justice Alito filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, which Justice Thomas joined. The judgement of the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit was affirmed in part and reversed in part.
To discuss these cases, we have Robert R. Gasaway, who is a partner at the law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP.