June 30, 2022

ACS Statement in Response to Supreme Court Decision in West Virginia v. EPA


Contact: Nancy Rodriguez, media@acslaw.org

Washington, DC — The Supreme Court, in its 6-3 decision in West Virginia v. EPA , sharply curtailed the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The decision’s impact goes beyond the regulation of power plants and threatens the executive branch’s authority to govern more broadly, with implications for combatting climate change, protecting public health, and anti-trust regulations. This decision is further evidence of a Supreme Court in the midst of a legitimacy crisis.

“Yet again, the Supreme Court has disregarded judicial restraint in order to do the political bidding of the far Right. This time, to kneecap the executive branch’s ability to combat one of the most existential challenges of our time – climate change. This decision leaves little question about the conservative supermajority’s readiness to further erode the executive branch’s ability to govern with future cases – the separation of powers and our constitutional democracy be damned. The Court’s conservative supermajority is determined, it seems, to prove themselves the six most powerful individuals in the country, reshaping American life as they see fit, regardless of the resulting harm to the American people and to the Court’s own fleeting legitimacy – that is, if any legitimacy even remains. We are in for dark days ahead in the absence of urgent Supreme Court reform,” said ACS President Russ Feingold.

“The devastation from this decision, handed down by just six individuals, will not stop at our borders. It risks global consequences as it will certainly impede the United States’ efforts to combat climate change. This is not hyperbolic. The United States has less than five percent of the world’s population, and yet we contribute 10 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Scientists have told us that radical action is needed to avert a catastrophic climate crisis, and today’s decision leaves the United States in a substantially weaker position to meet the moment and help avert this crisis.”


ACS believes that the Constitution is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” We interpret the Constitution based on its text and against the backdrop of history and lived experience. Through a diverse nationwide network of progressive lawyers, law students, judges, scholars, and many others, we work to uphold the Constitution in the 21st Century by ensuring that law is a force for protecting our democracy and the public interest and for improving people’s lives. For more information, visit us at www.acslaw.org or on Twitter @acslaw.