Environmental Protection And Chief Justice John Roberts

Washington, DC –  One week before the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral argument in Michigan v. EPA – yet another challenge to the EPA’s authority to protect the air from pollution by electricity-generating power plants – Constitutional Accountability Center is releasing the latest Snapshot in its “Roberts at 10” project examining John Roberts’s first decade as Chief Justice of the United States: Roberts’s Environmental Law Record: It’s Not Good, But Don’t Count Him Out


Our new Snapshot looks at Chief Justice Roberts’s approach to questions of environmental protection by focusing on two broad categories of environmental law cases: those that affect the ability of individuals and organizations to sue to prevent or redress environmental harm, and those that affect the ability of governments to regulate pollutants and polluters.


Read the new “Roberts at 10” Snapshot and an excerpt here: http://theusconstitution.org/sites/default/files/briefs/Roberts-at-10-Environment.pdf 


When John Roberts was nominated to the Supreme Court, his record on the environment was the subject of significant discussion.  At the same time that many in the environmental community sounded the alarm, Roberts pointed, in part, to his significant work as an advocate in one environmental case in an effort to show that the environmental community could expect to receive a fair hearing from him—on that issue and more generally.  For much of his first decade on the Court, Roberts’s votes have called those assurances into question, as he has consistently voted against stronger environmental protections in the most controversial cases involving environmental interests.  Last Term, though, he joined two big decisions that were environmental wins.  With another significant environmental case on the Court’s docket this Term—and more sure to come in the near future—Roberts will no doubt have additional opportunities to weigh in on the meaning and proper application of the Nation’s environmental laws.  While it seems very unlikely that Chief Justice Roberts’s record in environmental law cases will end up being good, his vote still shouldn’t be counted out. 




Additional Resources:


Roberts at 10: A Look at the First Decade of John Roberts’s Tenure as Chief Justice (opening Snapshot): http://theusconstitution.org/sites/default/files/briefs/Roberts-at-10-A-Look-at-the-First-Decade.pdf 


Roberts at 10: Federal Power: The Evolving Story of John Roberts and Congress’s Commerce Clause and Spending Clause Powers: http://theusconstitution.org/sites/default/files/briefs/Roberts-at-10-Evolving-Story-of-John-Roberts-federal-power.pdf 


Roberts at 10: Campaign Finance and Voting Rights: Easier to Donate, Harder to Vote: http://theusconstitution.org/sites/default/files/briefs/Roberts-at-10-Easier-to-Donate-Harder-to-Vote.pdf 


Roberts at 10: Roberts’s Quiet, But Critical, Votes To Limit Women’s Rights: http://theusconstitution.org/sites/default/files/briefs/Roberts-at-10-Roberts-Quiet-But-Critical-Votes-To-Limit-Womens-Rights.pdf 


Roberts at 10: Roberts’s Consistent Votes to Close the Courthouse Doors: http://theusconstitution.org/sites/default/files/briefs/Roberts-at-10-Access-to-the-Courts.pdf 


Roberts at 10: Turning Back the Clock on Protections for Racial Equality: http://theusconstitution.org/sites/default/files/briefs/Roberts_at_10-Race_snapshot.pdf 


“Roberts at 10” experts available for interviews: CAC Appellate Counsel Brianne Gorod, and Civil Rights Director David Gans.




Constitutional Accountability Center (www.theusconstitution.org) is a think tank, public interest law firm, and action center dedicated to fulfilling the progressive promise of the Constitution’s text and history.