Tuesday Roundup

November 28, 2006

Tomorrow, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Massachusetts v. EPA, a case which will determine whether the Clean Air Act imposes a mandate on the EPA to issue rules restricting greenhouse gas emissions. Lyle Denniston suggests that the Supreme Court may avoid this issue altogether, however, instead holding that the state of Massachusetts lacks standing to bring this suit:

To head off a decision by the Supreme Court on the substantive legal issues the case raises, the EPA and those on its side of the case are using the "standing" issue. The contention is that the challengers to EPA cannot show that they would suffer any specific and near-term harm from EPA's failure to regulate auto exhausts that may contribute to global warming. And, even assuming some predictable harm, this argument goes on, the challengers have not shown that EPA's failure woud be the cause of that harm. And, finally, EPA and its allies argue that the courts are not suited to the task of remedying the problem, even assuming that one exists. EPA contends that the government already has a wide-ranging program to deal with climate change, and that this program must be pursued multilaterally around the globe, rather than domestically only within the U.S. Eight states that oppose the appeal by Massachusetts and its allies contend that reduction of U.S. sources of global warming will not address the international air quality issue of climate change.

For ACSBlog's preview of this case, by the Community Rights Counsel's Doug Kendall, follow this link.
Jack Balkin criticizes a New York Times Magazine piece arguing that Justice Scalia has vigorously applied the Bill of Rights, and thus is likely to block some of the Bush Administration's civil liberties agenda:

The Bush Administration has not chipped away at civil protections liberties where they are strongest, but rather where they are weakest: cases involving statutory rights, the scope of habeas corpus jurisdiction, the rights of aliens, particularly aliens held overseas, and human rights protections under international law. The civil liberties cases of the War on Terror will not look like those of the past, which is why the Administration will be able to diminish civil liberties while claiming that it has not seriously limited the Bill of Rights as to American citizens. When Turow thinks about struggles over civil liberties, he is largely fighting the last war.

Doug Berman highlights a new report which warns of harms caused by inappropriately incarcerating children:

Inappropriately incarcerating youth in secure detention centers across the country can contribute to their future delinquent behavior and harm their education, employment and health, according to a new policy brief to be released on Nov. 28 at a major national conference promoting alternatives to detention. [The report] shows that rather than promoting public safety, detention - the pretrial "jailing" of youth not yet found delinquent - may contribute to future offenses. Studies from around the country show that incarcerated youth have higher recidivism rates than youth supervised in other kinds of settings.

DOJ's Inspector General will begin an investigation into how information obtained from the Administration's warantless wiretapping program is being used.
and finally, residents of Dixie County Florida awoke to find a six ton statute of the Ten Commandments perched on their courthouse steps.