In a sharply-worded dissent, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan leveled extremely strong criticism against her right-wing colleagues who ruled in a 6-3 decision that the Environmental Protection Agency does not have broad authority to regulate greenhouse gasses as the climate warms to what experts warn are dangerous levels.
“The subject matter of the regulation here makes the Court’s intervention all the more troubling,” Justice Kagan writes in her dissent. “Whatever else this Court may know about, it does not have a clue about how to address climate change. And let’s say the obvious: The stakes here are high. Yet the Court today prevents congressionally authorized agency action to curb power plants’ carbon dioxide emissions. The Court appoints itself—instead of Congress or the expert agency—the decision-maker on climate policy. I cannot think of many things more frightening.”
Justice Kagan began her lengthy dissent by saying: “Today, the Court strips the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the power Congress gave it to respond to ‘the most pressing environmental challenge of our time.’”
The Clean Air Act, first signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson and amended over the years by Democratic and Republican presidents, has been used by the EPA for decades, successfully saving “millions of lives and trillions of dollars.”
Kagan highlights that “there was no reason to reach out to decide this case,” as it examines an executive branch policy that was never enacted, and criticizes what she sees as the Supreme Court’s previous “unprecedented” interference in the EPA’s activities.
“This Court has obstructed EPA’s effort from the beginning. Right after the Obama administration issued the Clean Power Plan, the Court stayed its implementation. That action was unprecedented: Never before had the Court stayed a regulation then under review in the lower courts.”
And she appears to be accusing the conservative majority of just making things up.
“The majority claims it is just following precedent, but that is not so. The Court has never even used the term ‘major questions doctrine’ before.”
The case is West Virginia v. EPA.