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Environment

Global Warming and the Supremes--Follow Up

The IntersectionBy Chris MooneyMarch 6, 2006 6:15 PM

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Last week, in a post that got a fair amount of attention, I observed that we may well have a global warming case heading towards the Supreme Court. In the comments thread, the issue then quickly arose: Is that a good thing? Is it something that we ought to be drawing attention to? Could drawing attention actually have any impact on the court's decision about whether to take this case? The first question is perhaps the easiest to tackle. This case (involving the Clean Air Act) has been appealed to the High Court by environmentalists and a collection of state attorneys general. If these plaintiffs want their case heard at the highest level despite the risk of a negative precedent and the conservative tilt of the court, then they have already made their strategic calculation, and I have no grounds to second guess it. So in this sense, yes, we should want this case to reach the Supreme Court. Can blogging influence that? Tthe other day I took a negative stance on this. But as ably pointed out in the comments, Supreme Court clerks are just people, and a lot of them are young enough to be blog readers. Justices, meanwhile, will certainly take notice if a case appealed to them is in the news. If a case that's been appealed to them gets a lot of attention, that may, in turn, get their attention and make them more inclined to grant the cert petition. They're just people, after all, in the end. So I say make a lot of noise about this pending case--and especially about the egregious ruling at the D.C. Circuit level. At the very least, we can make it more widely known just how outrageously the D.C. Circuit distorted science in this case.

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