The Green Supremes


The Supreme Court has given us another rude reminder of the importance of judicial appointments – a legacy that long outlasts a president’s own tenure. Three Republican nominees joined two Clinton appointees Monday to render a breathtaking act of judicial fiat (decision is here). The court’s Green majority declared carbon dioxide a pollutant under the federal Clean Air Act (CAA). That’s right, the very stuff that you are exhaling right now is a “waste product that renders the air harmful or generally unusable,” as Webster’s defines pollutant. So if CO2 is now the functional equivalent of lead, must the EPA remove it entirely? What level constitutes harmful CO2?


As CEI’s Marlo Lewis pointed out in a comprehensive preview of this case in 2005, the idea that the Clean Air Act applies to CO2 is an “affront to common sense.”


“Indeed, the terms ‘greenhouse gas’ and ‘greenhouse effect’ do not appear anywhere in the Act,” continues Lewis in his NRO piece. “Nowhere does it even hint at establishing a climate-change-prevention program. There is no subchapter, section, or even subsection on global climate change.”


But the Green Supremes, parroting claims brought by America’s bluest states and their activist allies, have simply rewritten federal law in order to satisfy their personal fears of climate change.


“Rising seas have already begun to swallow Massachusetts coastal land,” writes Justice John Paul Stevens, a view at the left fringe of global warming science.


In effect, the Green Supremes just signed the 1997 Kyoto Treaty regulating CO2 emissions, a treaty the elected U.S. Senate never ratified. In fact, though the Clinton Administration signed the pact in 1997, it didn’t bother to submit it for ratification after a preliminary, 95-0 Senate vote declared the treaty unacceptable.


No matter, the justices have substituted their opinions for our elected bodies.


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