It’s been a good week in the federal courts for the Obama Administration.
On Tuesday, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of the Environmental Protection Agency – and against a legion of state Attorneys General and industry groups – on the EPA’s greenhouse gas Endangerment Finding. The states and industry groups had asked the appeals court to overturn the Endangerment Finding based on a host of arguments ranging from “there’s too much uncertainty in the science” to “the EPA abused its authority” to “the EPA misread the Clean Air Act.” The court disagreed, emphatically and occasionally sardonically, and dismissed every one of 26 separate petitions that the various states and industry groups had filed. S&R is analyzing the 82 page opinion in detail and will be publishing several posts about it in the coming weeks.
And today, a 5-4 majority of the Supreme Court ruled that the Affordable Care Act was constitutional. Surprisingly, Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s four liberal members (Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, Kagen, and Sotomayor) in the majority, finding that Act was constitutional based on Congress’ ability to levy taxes (but not, as the other four justices would have, based on the Commerce Clause as the Obama Administration had originally argued). Chief Justice Roberts wrote the majority opinion.
It’s too early to say who will be more energized by these rulings, conservatives or liberals. And it’s difficult to say how both will play out between now and Election Day. But it’s certainly fair to say that both cases are about to rise in prominence in both the Romney and Obama campaigns.