Global Warming Challenges the Unitary Executive
By Kelpie Wilson
t r u t h o u t | Environmental Editor
Sunday 15 April 2007
On April 2, 2007 the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of the State of Massachusetts in the landmark global warming case, Massachusetts v. EPA. Environmentalists were pleased that the high court ruled on the merits of the case, agreeing that carbon dioxide meets the definition of a pollutant and that the EPA has run out of excuses for not regulating it.
But some legal scholars were even more gratified by another aspect of the case, the court's ruling on the right of the plaintiffs to sue, known as their "standing." Michael C. Dorf, a law professor at Columbia University, said that "the most important practical effect of Massachusetts v. EPA may be what it does to standing doctrine. And on that point, the decision marks a welcome turn away from recent precedents that imposed gratuitous obstacles to courts' reaching decisions on the merits."
On the other side, Case Western Reserve law professor Jonathan H. Adler decried the court's admission of standing, saying that "Justice Stevens almost certainly lowered the standing bar for future environmental litigants." Adler had participated in amicus briefs submitted in the case by the Cato Institute.