News / USA

US Supreme Court Considers Environment, Presidential Power

FILE - Smoke rises from the Colstrip Steam Electric Station, a coal burning power plant in in Colstrip, Montana.
FILE - Smoke rises from the Colstrip Steam Electric Station, a coal burning power plant in in Colstrip, Montana.
An environmental case now before the U.S. Supreme Court could have constitutional implications for the powers of the presidency.  

The nine-member Supreme Court appeared divided Monday during oral arguments in a case related to the power of the federal government to limit greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming.

At issue is whether the executive branch, through the Environmental Protection Agency, is overstepping its bounds by expanding regulation of greenhouse gas emissions to include not just vehicles, but stationary sources such as power plants and factories.

Shannon Goessling is with the Southeastern Legal Foundation, which represents business groups and Republican lawmakers who oppose the Obama administration’s efforts to broaden the regulations.

“But what about down the road when you have an executive branch that abuses its authority?  And that is what we really need to get into check in the whole area of checks and balances," she said. "We need to get restraint and the judiciary and the United States Supreme Court is the last place for that."

The Supreme Court case comes at a time when President Obama has repeatedly said that he will act on his own, rather than try to push legislation through Congress only to have it blocked by Republicans.

“I am eager to work with Congress whenever I can find opportunities to expand opportunities for more families," he said. "But wherever I can act on my own without Congress, by using my pen to take executive actions or picking up the phone and rallying folks around a common cause, that is what I am going to do."

Environmental groups and many Democrats support the EPA’s efforts to target global warming.  American University Law School Professor Bill Snape, who is with the Center for Biological Diversity, attended Monday’s oral arguments.

“I think actually more is at stake politically because the perception that the president is somehow overstepping his bounds, and I think the far-right has been very upset about that, was a subscript in this case today," said Snape.

Snape says a number of environmental groups are closely watching the case before the Supreme Court, both for its political and policy implications.

“I do not think that EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases is at issue," he said. "I think the issue is how and if they can issue particular permits to particular industries.  That is very much at issue, and we will just have to wait, probably until June, to find out the answer."

Some of the liberal justices on the high court appeared comfortable with EPA’s regulatory approach during Monday’s session, while some of the conservative justices appeared more skeptical.

A Supreme Court ruling in the case is expected by the end of June.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid