In a six-to-three decision that could negatively impact the fight against climate change, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did not have the authority to set standards for greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants.
Posted at 6:00 am
Also on Thursday, however, the Supreme Court ruled in a five-four decision in favor of President Joe Biden in his attempt to end the “remain in Mexico” policy instituted under Donald Trump. This policy forced asylum seekers who crossed the border into Mexico to remain in that country while their case was reviewed.
With its decision against the EPO, the Supreme Court overturns a previously held different position for the second time in a few days. On June 24th she had Roe v. Wade in 1973 guarantees women the right to abortion.
This time, the Supreme Court overturned a 2007 decision in which it recognized by a majority (5-4) the EPA’s power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts, speaking for the majority, wrote: “Limiting carbon emissions to levels that would require a nationwide shift from coal to electricity generation could be a relevant solution to today’s crisis. But it is not credible that Congress gave the EPA the authority to pass such a measure. »
In other words, the Court holds that it is for the United States Congress to set the national standards. But some argue that in a very divided Congress, elected officials will struggle to get along. In addition, with the approach of the midterm elections (in November), the narrow majority (220-210 and 5 vacant seats) of the Democrats in the House of Representatives is threatened.
While the decision was greeted with applause by some, including Republican governors who questioned the EPA’s powers, many environmental activists have denounced it.
In a statement released minutes after the announcement, John Noel, senior climate activist at Greenpeace USA, strongly denounced the work of the Majority Justices.
“Toga radicals severely limit the federal government’s ability to protect people and the ecosystems that protect life,” he said. In 2018, air pollution from burning fossil fuels such as coal and gas was responsible for about one in five deaths worldwide. »
It is ruthless that six Supreme Court justices have opted to sacrifice more lives for the benefit of multi-million dollar coal and oil barons.
John Noel, senior climate activist at Greenpeace USA
The White House released a statement from President Joe Biden saying the ruling was “another devastating decision designed to set our country back.” Mr. Biden has pledged to reduce US greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030.
Accompanied by The pressLaura Ullmann, climate campaign manager at Greenpeace Canada, calls the decision “terrifying”.
“Laws are made in every state, but emissions know no borders,” she continues. So what is emitted in the United States can affect us in Canada. It is important that Prime Minister Trudeau put pressure on Joe Biden. »
“We are really light years away from the judgment of the Supreme Court of Canada, which recognizes the federal government’s power to act in this area in its decision on CO2 pricing,” says government director Marc-André Viau of relations in Équiterre.
Immigration: Victory for Biden
Separately, the Supreme Court has ruled that the Biden administration did not violate US immigration law when it repealed the “remain in Mexico” executive order and replaced it with a more lenient policy toward asylum seekers.
The states of Texas and Missouri appealed that decision and won first instance and then the Circuit Court of Appeals. In the Supreme Court, Judge Roberts found that immigration law gave authorities “discretionary powers” over the repatriation of aliens to Mexico. There is therefore no obligation to do so.
The United States Supreme Court ended its session by swearing in Federal Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to succeed Stephen G. Breyer, who is retiring. She becomes the first black woman to serve on the Supreme Court. This first Joe Biden appointment will not tip the balance of power (6-3) in favor of the Conservatives.
Some important recent decisions
Under Donald Trump’s presidency, three justices, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, were appointed to the United States Supreme Court, which is now (6-3) dominated by conservative justices. A look back at some important decisions of the last few months.
Limitation of the President’s board privilege
But at 8-1
Resolution of January 19, 2022
Citing his “executive privilege,” former President Donald Trump refused to turn over hundreds of documents to the House Committee on the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol after that event. The Supreme Court accepted the Court of Appeals’ arguments that even if the President had been in office, he would not have had that privilege. Lone dissenter Clarence Thomas is the husband of Ginni Thomas, a Republican activist who has campaigned for Arizona lawmakers hoping to invalidate Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential victory there.
The death row prisoner’s right to prayer
But at 8-1
Resolution of March 24, 2022
In Texas, a death row inmate, John Henry Ramirez, argued that he could not be executed if his pastor was forbidden from praying aloud and from touching him (similar to what we see in a scene from the film walking dead man) within minutes of its execution. On behalf of the majority, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John G. Roberts ruled that these rights could be curtailed but not prohibited. Mr. Ramirez’s execution, scheduled for September 2021, was postponed to allow the case to go before the Supreme Court. He is scheduled to be executed on October 5, 2022.
Christian flag in public space
But at 9-0
Resolution of May 2, 2022
The court is hearing a complaint because the City of Boston banned a private group, Camp Constitution, from flying a Christian flag on one of City Hall’s three poles. However, this pole is accessible to about fifty other organizations that defend diversity. The judges ruled that the Boston program did not constitute a “government speech” and that the freedom of speech provided for in the First Amendment must be respected. The flag of the camp constitution can therefore be hoisted. Another group, Satanic Temple, quickly requested the same access!
Carrying a gun outside the home
But at 6-3
Resolution of June 23, 2022
Citing the Second Amendment to the Constitution, which states that “the right of people to possess and bear arms shall not be violated,” the court overturned an old New York State statute prohibiting a person from carrying a gun outside of their home without proving that his life depended on it and without proper authorization having been granted.
Reversal of Roe v. wade
But at 6-3
Resolution of June 24, 2022
In a landmark decision that sparked a national outcry, America’s highest court, Roe v. Wade in 1973 and held that there was no constitutional right to abortion. According to this, states have the right to ban abortion altogether or to severely restrict it. It is estimated that 26 states will ban the practice. For the three dissenting judges, this decision jeopardizes “other rights to privacy, such as contraception and gay marriage.”
prayer in school
But at 6-3
Resolution of June 27, 2022
In Washington state, a soccer team coach – Christian – who prayed in the middle of the field after every game is fired from his public high school. The Supreme Court holds that this move falls within the First Amendment’s definition of free speech and that it is within its constitutional right to do so.
With The New York Times, The Washington Post and Rolling Stone
- Share of energy produced in the United States that came from coal-fired power plants in 2021
Source: US Energy Information Administration
- In 2020, West Virginia, a state that challenged the EPA’s standards in the Supreme Court, was the second largest coal producer (13%) in the United States after Wyoming.
Source: US Energy Information Administration