Environmental Protection

REACTION: Supreme Court Argument in Michigan v. EPA

Washington, DC – Following today’s oral argument in the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Michigan v. EPA – the latest challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to protect air quality – CAC Counsel Tom Donnelly, who was in the court for today’s proceedings, issued the following reaction:


“Much of this case boils down to the meaning of a single and open-ended phrase: ‘appropriate and necessary.’ As Justice Kagan explained today, echoing our brief, this phrase is found in the U.S. Code and has analogies to text in the U.S. Constitution—and when it’s given its usual meaning, it’s clear that the EPA’s mercury pollution rule should be upheld.


“The Solicitor General and industry respondents did an effective job in explaining how the EPA’s mercury pollution rule is consistent with the Clean Air Act’s text and structure, and also how the EPA reasonably accounted for costs in its final rule, excluding them when deciding whether to regulate toxic pollutants, but taking them into account when setting the emissions standards for these pollutants.


“Finally, it’s worth noting that – as the industry respondents’ attorney explained – much of the industry is already complying with this rule, the sky hasn’t fallen, and a decision invalidating it now would be highly disruptive.”




Additional Resources:


CAC’s case page, including link to our “friend of the court” brief, in Michigan v. EPA: http://theusconstitution.org/cases/michigan-v-epa-us-sup-ct 


“4 reasons why the Supreme Court’s mercury case is worth watching,” CAC Counsel Tom Donnelly Grist, Monday, March 23, 2015: http://grist.org/climate-energy/4-reasons-why-the-supreme-courts-mercury-case-is-worth-watching/ 


Roberts at 10: Roberts’s Environmental Law Record: It’s Not Good, But Don’t Count Him Out, CAC Appellate Counsel Brianne Gorod: http://theusconstitution.org/sites/default/files/briefs/Roberts-at-10-Environment.pdf




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.



More from Environmental Protection

Corporate Accountability

Intuit, Inc. v. Federal Trade Commission

In Intuit Inc v. Federal Trade Commission, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit is considering whether the FTC’s authority to issue cease-and-desist orders against false and misleading advertising is constitutional.
Rule of Law
June 20, 2024

Opinion | The tragedy of the Supreme Court’s bump stock ruling

Washington Post
Don’t let technicalities, or a refusal to use common sense, become the enemy of public...
By: Nina Henry
Access to Justice
June 20, 2024

RELEASE: Supreme Court rejects artificial limit on liability for speech-based retaliation by government officers

WASHINGTON, DC – Following today’s Supreme Court decision in Gonzalez v. Trevino, a case in...
By: Brian R. Frazelle
Civil and Human Rights
June 20, 2024

RELEASE: Supreme Court decision keeps the door open to accountability for police officers who make false charges

WASHINGTON, DC – Following this morning’s decision at the Supreme Court in Chiaverini v. City...
By: Brian R. Frazelle
Corporate Accountability
June 20, 2024

RELEASE: In narrow ruling, Supreme Court rejects baseless effort to shield corporate-derived income from taxation

WASHINGTON, DC – Following this morning’s decision at the Supreme Court in Moore v. United...
By: Brian R. Frazelle
Rule of Law
June 19, 2024

The Supreme Court’s approach on ‘history and tradition’ is irking Amy Coney Barrett

Washington (CNN) — On a Supreme Court where the conservative supermajority increasingly leans on history as a...
By: Elizabeth B. Wydra, Devan Cole, John Fritze