Wednesday, April 20, 2011

American Electric Power v. Connecticut.

Seven of the eight justices participating in oral arguments in the case of American Electric Power v. Connecticut offered comments or questions that appeared critical of the scope or concept of a suit against major utilities that claims their output of greenhouse gases is a public nuisance under federal common law. The eighth justice, Clarence Thomas, asked no questions as usual. And the ninth, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, did not participate because she heard the case at an earlier stage as a circuit court judge. The overwhelming tenor of the justices' questions Tuesday was skepticism that courts should be deciding emissions standards and other possible remedies for climate change, instead of Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency. After staying out of the controversy during the Bush administration, the EPA under President Barack Obama has begun the rulemaking process for limits on greenhouse gases.