Kavanaugh Confirmation Fight Has Consequences for Climate Law

scientificamerican.com
Mark K. Matthews,E&E News
10-12 minutes

If Senate Republicans plow ahead and confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, the longtime jurist could have near-term impact on a slew of environmental cases.

Among the disputes the high court has agreed to hear this fall: a case that pits villagers from India against the World Bank in a fight over a coal plant. If the villagers prevail, it could have worldwide economic and political repercussions.

Several other climate-related issues have a decent shot, too, of getting a future date with the Supreme Court, including one closely watched fight—the “kids’ climate case”—that makes the far-reaching argument that the government must take action on global warming so as not to imperil future generations.

Kavanaugh—currently a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit—would replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, who retired in July after three decades of service and dozens of landmark decisions.

Kennedy was often a swing vote on the ideologically divided court, and he played a key role in several major environmental cases.

In 2007, for example, he sided with the court’s liberal wing in the case Massachusetts v. EPA, which granted EPA the authority to regulate greenhouse gases. A year later, he joined with the court’s conservatives to limit the financial damages against Exxon Mobil Corp. for its role in the Exxon Valdez spill of 1989, which coated miles of Alaska coastline with oil.

Kavanaugh, nominated to the high court by President Trump in July, likely would shift the court further to the right. But a rightward shift would occur regardless of whether Kavanaugh weathers the sexual assault allegations that multiple women have raised. If the Kavanaugh nomination is derailed, Trump would likely tap an equally conservative replacement.

There’s a lot at stake for domestic and international efforts to address climate change. Here are five brewing legal fights in which the future justice could play a role.
Kids want action on climate

When they filed their lawsuit in 2015, the plaintiffs behind what has become known as the “kids’ climate case” picked the biggest target available: the U.S. government.

Three years later, their case—Juliana v. United States—appears bound, tractor-beam-like, for the Supreme Court.

The 21 plaintiffs, all children and young adults, argue that the federal government has chipped away for years at their constitutional right to live in a safe environment.

From one administration to the next, the government allowed decades’ worth of planet-warming emissions to accumulate, even though top researchers at national laboratories and around Washington knew of man-made climate change and its perils, they say.

Through their case, the plaintiffs want a court to declare that their rights as U.S. citizens have been violated and to force the government to draft a plan to phase out fossil fuels.

No matter the outcome of the case, which is slated for trial beginning in late October in a federal Oregon court, it will likely wind its way back to the Supreme Court.

Justices in July rejected the Trump administration’s attempt to halt the trial, though they hinted at concerns at the case’s scope (E&E News PM, July 30).

Julia Olson, counsel for the plaintiffs, said then, “This decision should give young people courage and hope that their third branch of government, all the way up to the Supreme Court, has given them the green light to go to trial in this critical case about their unalienable rights.”

A Justice Department spokesperson called the case “deeply misguided” and noted that the Obama administration had opposed the suit, too.
Villagers take on the World Bank

In January, a group of villagers from western India petitioned the Supreme Court to hear their case against the World Bank, and at Oct. 31 oral arguments, the justices will listen.

At issue is the liability of the International Finance Corp., the lending arm of the World Bank, which financed a coal plant in Gujarat, on India’s western coast, home to the plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs sued the IFC in 2015, accusing it of violating its own environmental policies when it extended $450 million in loans for the project to Tata Power Ltd., an energy conglomerate in the country.

“Without the IFC’s funding, the Tata Mundra Project could not have gone forward,” they said (Climatewire, July 26, 2017).

The plant spews coal dust, ash and other toxic debris, according to the plaintiffs, who say its existence has killed and scared off fish, which they rely on for income. But the D.C. Circuit ruled against the plaintiffs, who want a court to declare that the IFC is not immune to lawsuits like theirs.

The IFC defends its actions, and in court papers, its lawyers argue that allowing this case to proceed would expose multinational entities such as the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund to a rash of similar suits from foreign nationals.

In a brief filed Sept. 10, Donald Verrilli Jr., former solicitor general under President Obama, who is representing the IFC, stuck to the slippery-slope stance.

A ruling against the IFC, the brief says, “would open U.S. courts to a flood of foreign-focused lawsuits that would require U.S. courts to second-guess international organizations’ core policy judgments, and that have only the most tenuous connection to the United States.”
Kavanaugh questions EPA’s reach

One big question before the high court is one that Kavanaugh already has dealt with—how far can EPA go to regulate hydrofluorocarbons, a class of potent greenhouse gases?

Under Obama, EPA in 2015 barred the use of HFCs in four major economic sectors: aerosols, air conditioning for new cars, retail food refrigeration and foam blowing.

Two foreign manufacturers sued in response to the rule with the claim that EPA had overstepped its authority under the Clean Air Act.

Kavanaugh agreed, and in a 2017 majority opinion for the D.C. Circuit, he asserted that EPA had “tried to jam a square peg … into a round hole.”

“The Supreme Court cases that have dealt with EPA’s efforts to address climate change have taught us two lessons that are worth repeating here,” he added.

“First, EPA’s well-intentioned policy objectives with respect to climate change do not on their own authorize the agency to regulate,” Kavanaugh continued. And second, he wrote, “Congress’ failure to enact general climate change legislation does not authorize EPA to act.”

The issue is now on the radar of the high court, which soon could decide whether it wants to weigh in. Justices are scheduled to consider petitions challenging the ruling at their Oct. 5 conference.

If Kavanaugh is ultimately confirmed, his biggest impact likely could be his previous opinion, as it’s typical for justices to recuse themselves from cases in which they already have played a part.
What happens to Trump’s replacement of the Clean Power Plan?

Even if justices reject the HFC case, EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases may still wind its way back up to the high court in the form of challenges to the Affordable Clean Energy rule, the Trump administration’s proposed replacement for the Clean Power Plan.

The ACE rule is aimed at cutting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. If finalized, it’s certain to face strong legal challenges from opponents who say the rule does not do enough to cut CO2 or protect public health.

Because EPA is still developing the rule, it would likely take until 2020, barring any major delays along the way, before the case could even get in front of justices, according to Joanne Spalding, deputy director of the Sierra Club’s Environmental Law Program.

EPA would first have to finalize the rule, and initial challenges would have to go through the D.C. Circuit.

A faster way to the high court would be if the D.C. Circuit agreed with a recent request by states and environmental groups to decide on litigation on the Clean Power Plan. The case has been on hold as the agency has been drafting the ACE rule.

If the court does decide the case—and Spalding suggested the D.C. Circuit could respond when the latest extended stay of litigation expires—parties would then be open to appeal to the Supreme Court.
Clean cars fight raises ‘interesting’ legal issues

The high court in years ahead could also look at the Trump administration’s bid to roll back motor vehicle mileage and pollution rules.

EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are examining whether to freeze the standard at 30 mpg from 2020 through 2026. The Obama administration wanted 36 mpg by 2026.

The Trump agencies also proposed peeling back California’s authority to set more stringent standards. That could kill the Golden State’s programs aimed at getting more clean cars on the road.

If a final rule revoked California’s waiver, the state would likely sue. But California and other states could also separately sue over a final rule that froze mileage and emissions at 2020 levels. That case potentially would question EPA’s ability to allow more tailpipe pollution, given the Supreme Court’s decision in Massachusetts v. EPA.

Ann Carlson, co-director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the University of California, Los Angeles, said the Supreme Court likely would be interested, especially in the California waiver question, because it’s “novel.”

“It would raise questions that the justices would find interesting,” she said. “They’ve never weighed in on the power of California under the waiver.”

In terms of a case looking at vehicle mileage and pollution levels, Carlson said, the court has “tended to take up these big, meaty environmental issues,” like regulations on mercury pollution and greenhouse gases.

“It just seems like they have shown interest in weighing in on EPA authority and interpreting the Clean Air Act in particular,” she said.

If he’s confirmed, Kavanaugh might urge his colleagues to look at a case dealing with EPA authority. “He’s interested in questions of agency power and statutory power that these cases raise,” Carlson said.

Reporters Benjamin Hulac, Niina Heikkinen and Anne C. Mulkern contributed.

Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from E&E News. E&E provides daily coverage of essential energy and environmental news at http://www.eenews.net.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/kavanaugh-confirmation-fight-has-consequences-for-climate-law/

Evil Spirits Will Rise In These End Times. Battle is On. ~ September 27, 2018

Rose Rambles...

The deep state is fighting HARD for their lives…to no avail. Please watch the confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee brought to us by BP Earthwatch, and get ready to grab your popcorn. Eyes to the skies after this is over, and…

InJoy!

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The American Bar Association is Calling for a Delay on Kavanaugh Vote Until the FBI Investigates

Mining Awareness +

The American Bar Association is calling for an FBI investigation of allegations against Trump Supreme Court pick Kavanaugh before vote.
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DoJxuB5U8AA396j.jpg

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Republicans delay Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote to allow the FBI to investigate

America's Watchtower

  Earlier today the Judiciary Committee voted to send Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate for a test vote on Saturday with the intention that the official vote would take place on Tuesday. However while voting in favor of sending the nomination to the Senate Jeff Flake demanded an FBI investigation into the sexual misconduct charges which have been levied against the nominee.

  Shortly thereafter the Republicans agreed to a one week delay to allow the FBI to investigate and the President has issued the order, although it appears as if the procedural vote will still happen on Saturday. Here is more:

Senate Republicans have agreed to delay a vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation for one week to allow for an FBI probe into allegations of sexual misconduct against the judge, according to a statement issued by the Senate Judiciary Committee Friday.

The committee requested…

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WATCH: Man Who Conducted Polygraph Says Kavanaugh Accuser Only Answered TWO QUESTIONS

ilovemyfreedom.org
Martin
3-4 minutes

Democrats have been hyping the results of Christine Blasey Ford’s polygraph test and claiming that they serve as proof that her allegations against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh are accurate.

However, the man who conducted the polygraph test in August says Ford only answered two “yes or no” questions, and reminded people that so-called “lie detector” tests are generally inadmissible in court because they aren’t reliable.

During an interview with Fox News, the former FBI agent, Jerry Hanafin, who conducted the polygraph test on Ford said he only asked her two “yes or no” questions about her allegations that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her almost four decades ago.

“Is any part of your statement false?” he asked first, followed by, “Did you make up any part of your statement?”

Hanafin said she answered “no” to both questions, and that the test determined that she didn’t deceive with her responses. The final report also doesn’t make any mention of questions regarding specifics about what she alleges.

It appears she was only asked basic questions about what she alleges, not about anything specific that would require details.

Hanafin said he didn’t push Ford for specifics because he didn’t want to overwhelm the victim while she was revealing what she alleges happened.

Watch below:

JUST IN: Former FBI agent who conducted polygraph on Christine Blasey Ford says he only asked two questions

— Wired Sources (@WiredSources) September 27, 2018

Kavanaugh was never accused of any wrongdoing for nearly four decades while he served in the Bush administration and on the federal court — but in the past three weeks, five people have come forward and accused him of sexual misconduct.

Ford alleges he pinned her down and attempted to grope her during a party roughly 36 years ago. She and Kavanaugh are testifying on Capitol Hill on Thursday about the allegations.

The second woman, Miranda Ramirez, alleges Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a party in 1983.

A third individual, Julie Swetnick, claims Kavanaugh was “present” when she attended parties in the early 1980s, where she alleges men were carrying out gang rapes. She has only accused Kavanaugh of possibly being present at one of the parties where this was taking place.

The other two allegations are from anonymous “people” who refused to give their names, locations, or literally any proof at all that they know Kavanaugh or have ever been around him at an event.

Kavanaugh strongly denies all of the allegations, but that hasn’t stopped many on the Left from portraying Kavanaugh as being the leader of supposed a “gang rape” cartel when he was in college.

Ford’s allegations have gotten the most attention because she is testifying on Thursday, and her supposed lie detector results are being portrayed as “proof” to support he claims.

As Hanafin noted, he only asked her two general questions. He didn’t ask her about anything specific or direct about what she alleges. The questions were about as vague as “Do you know Brett Kavanaugh.” Of course her answers are going to be truthful when they are so broad and general that it would be impossible to lie.

This is nothing but a last-minute delay tactic by Democrats — and Ford’s polygraph, many argue, is anything but proof.

https://ilovemyfreedom.org/watch-man-who-conducted-polygraph-says-kavanaugh-accuser-only-answered-two-questions/

CASHING IN: GoFundMe Donors Have Given Christine Ford Over $500,000 After She Made Allegations

ilovemyfreedom.org
Frank
5-6 minutes

Christine Blasey Ford, with the support of the Democratic Party, presented her story against Judge Brett Kavanaugh yesterday at a hearing in front of the Senate Judicial Committee. She could be receiving a check, or multiple checks, for a total amount of over $700,000 (so far) because of multiple GoFundMe campaigns raising money to help pay for her costs.

I don’t know if GoFundMe will send her one check for each campaign, or one large check, or if GoFundMe sends the money to the people running the campaigns. I’m not 100% certain how their system works, but if the accounts are cashed out, then Blasey Ford might literally be getting almost a million dollars after all of this is said and done. Of course, GoFundMe would have to decide on what happens with the campaigns. Either way, that’s a ton of money that Ford could have in her hands after her story and testimony accusing Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault.

Her story has created thunderous waves on social media and disrupted the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, even though she presents little to no evidence and no corroboration from her own friends.

No one seems to be supporting her story except for the Democratic Party, but Ford’s own friends refused to back her up.

When Ford was in front of U.S. senators during the hearing, someone had asked how she would pay for the polygraph test, which could cost anywhere from hundreds to a thousand dollars. “During a break after Blasey Ford’s testimony, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), one of Kavanaugh’s most outspoken advocates, told reporters: “I don’t know who paid for her polygraph but somebody did.”

How was Ford going to cover other costs such as travel to appear at the hearing? What about lawyers? Nevermind that, her lawyers are working pro-bono.

Ford mentioned that she wasn’t sure if she paid for the polygraph, a check someone would not forget about cutting, but she then found out that her attorneys (referred to her by Democrats) had paid for the test.

Ford then mentioned that there were a few GoFundMe campaigns going on in support of her. A few? Upon further research, it appears that GoFundMe has 13 current campaigns raising money to support her.

CNBC reported “I’m aware that there’s been several GoFundMe sites,” Blasey Ford told Rachel Mitchell, the Arizona prosecutor who was hired to ask questions on behalf of Republican senators. “I haven’t had a chance to figure out how to manage those because I’ve never had one.”

GoFundMe, a crowdfunding website that allows anyone to start a fundraising effort, is hosting 13 campaigns related to Blasey Ford, according to a search on the site using her name. Most of them haven’t gotten much response, though they picked up after the topic was raised.

However, the top two campaigns have reeled in more than half a million dollars for Blasey Ford, a professor of psychology and statistics at Palo Alto University in California.”

I located two of the highest yielding GoFunMe accounts. One has $473,812 of $150,000 goal raised. Another has $209,987 of $175,000 goal raised.

The first of the GoFundMe accounts listed appears to be using Ford as a means of pushing their own material. They have several other campaigns listed in the description of their campaign for Dr. Ford. This is called being an opportunist. They’re raising money for Ford, but they’re using it to advertise their own things.

The second GoFundMe listed is basing their campaign on death threats that Ford has allegedly received. What’s odd about this is that it’s usually unhinged Democrats who send death threats or participate in violence. For example, Antifa, Steve Scalise being shot, and any of the other violence and protests conducted by liberals behaving badly. This GoFundMe is to provide funds for security, although it doesn’t seem like anyone is actually going after her.

It should be noted that many people percieve that the Democrats have used Ford as their pawn in a chess game to delay the confirmation of Kavanaugh until after the midterm elections and even possibly until after the 2020 election where they can hope to get a seat back.

The smear campaign and political agenda has been called out by numerous senators such as Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz.

The Democratic Party might not cut Ford a check, but it looks like she’ll be taking home a ton of donations if GoFundMe allows the campaigns to be cashed out.

That’s not a bad paycheck for agreeing to help destroy a man’s life with a smear campaign that appears to be designed by Democrats.

https://ilovemyfreedom.org/christine-blasey-ford-may-receive-over-700000-after-alleged-incident-with-brett-kavanaugh/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=postup

Facebook hacked as up to 90m accounts are vulnerable after ‘security breach’ – Mirror Online

https://www.mirror.co.uk/tech/breaking-facebook-hacked-up-90m-13327076?utm_source=mirror_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=EM_MirrorNews_BreakingNews_Button1&utm_campaign=daily_newsletter