A friend and I have had several conversations recently about how much of our lives and livelihoods seems to be in the hands of 9 people, one in particular, and how little people seem to know or care about this august body.
Soon comes one of these, in the case of American Electric power vs. Connecticut:
On December 6, 2010, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut, a federal nuisance case on appeal from the Second Circuit. Plaintiffs — eight states, the City of New York and three non-profit land trusts — seek abatement and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from defendants, who include some of the United States’ largest electric utility companies. The Second Circuit ruled that: (1) the case did not present a non-justiciable political question, (2) the plaintiffs have standing, (3) the plaintiffs stated claims under the federal common law of nuisance, (4) the plaintiffs’ claims are not displaced by the Clean Air Act (“CAA”), and, finally, (5) the Tennessee Valley Authority (“TVA”), a quasi-governmental defendant, is not immune from the suit.
The states, plus NYC and three land trusts want to be able to sue these companies spewing carbon into the air like it’s a birthright. One lower court said, “sure.” The companies appealed.
Three leading Republicans in Congress filed a brief with the Supreme Court late Monday asking the justices to overturn a lower court ruling that allowed several states and environmental groups to sue electric utilities over their global warming emissions.
You might guess who these three are. They don’t believe in AGW and routinely put a fork (or a hold on, choose your metaphor) in any legislative efforts to address the problem. Of course their amicus brief makes the claim that the issue is simply not one for the courts, which might do something; they want to preserve this right for the legislative branch, which likely will not do anything for at least a while longer, if these three have anything to do with it.
It’s a very strange meaning for preservation.