On February 9th the US Supreme Court ruled to stay the advancement of President Obama’s plan to combat global warming. The plan included increased regulations on the coal-fired power plant industry which aimed to reduce carbon emissions by a third in reference to 2005 levels. (Previous article on this topic)
The Supreme Court voted 5-4 to temporarily suspend the advancement of the plan, until it can be determined if it is constitutional. Those opposed said that the new plan was a drastic overreach by the federal government into the affairs of individual states. Many more were concerned that this may send a signal to the international community that the United States was not taking its commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement seriously, the US commitment was instrumental in the agreement being made, and ultimately signal its unravelling. The Supreme Court will hear arguments on the plan on June 2nd and will make the final decision later in the year.
However, the vote to stay the agreement was split along political lines, with all those in favour belonging to the right wing and those opposed to the left. The recent death of Justice Antonin Scalia, who voted in favour of the stay, may tip the scale back in favour of the deal’s implementation. President Obama said in a statement following the Justice’s death that he will attempt to immediately appoint a new justice. If the president manages to get a liberal appointment past the congress it will most likely result in the advancement of the climate plan. If the appointment doesn’t get past the congress it will most likely result in a 4-4 tie and the decision will be deferred to the lower courts, in that case… who knows?