Please invest in Our Daily Planet today, by making a one time or monthly contribution.
We do not charge our readers a subscription fee for our content. We want to continue to grow our readership, particularly among millennials and public servants. Voluntary contributions from readers will help us employ interns and freelance journalists, expand our content, and reach a larger audience.
Judge Merrick Garland is expected to “respect science and the rule of law” if confirmed as Attorney General. Plus he has deep experience, having heard many environmental cases over his twenty-plus years on the bench in Washington, D.C. According to our friends at SCOTUS blog, who looked extensively at his judicial record, Garland consistently deferred to agency decision-makers in upholding rules — good news for incoming environmental regulators. He has also been quite willing to overturn agency actions when they were challenged by environmental organizations. “Judge Garland has shown a relentless commitment to justice throughout his career,” says Sam Sankar, senior vice president of programs at Earthjustice.
Why This Matters: I (Monica) can’t think of an Attorney General who has spent this much time digging into the details of challenging environmental cases. And thanks to his experience at the Justice Department earlier in his career, he will deftly handle the many 180 degree reversals in pending cases that the Department will need to execute right away. He is also likely to throw the book at environmental scofflaws, unlike the current administration. It will be great to have a friend of the planet at the helm of DOJ.
Respect for Science and Rule of Law
Earthjustice explained their unqualified support for Garland’s nomination saying, “Garland’s record reflects a respect for both science and the rule of law. His past opinions have served to protect the environmental rulemaking and enforcement authority of federal agencies like EPA — a critical component of our Constitutional separation of powers.” Earthjustice is “pleased with this nomination, because we need an AG who supports environmental enforcement and is committed to addressing racial injustice.”
His approach to environmental cases is can be found in decisions like 2014’s White Stallion Energy Center v. EPA, in which he upheld Obama-era standards for mercury and air toxics from power plants, citing the Clean Air Act language on pollutants, and his dissent in 2002’s American Growers Association v. EPA, arguing that the EPA reasonably justified its anti-haze standards for national parks. Similarly, in 2003’s In Rancho Viejo v. Norton, he upheld the government’s application of the Endangered Species Act to the arroyo toad over a Commerce Clause challenge.
When Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court was pending, UCLA law professor Ann Carlson. said of him, “He is almost always deferential to agency interpretations of statutes, including environmental ones. When he has not deferred to the Environmental Protection Agency he has sided with environmentalists. And he has ruled in some significant cases that at least suggest he is likely to uphold the President’s signature climate initiative, the Clean Power Plan.” Hopefully, he will be swiftly confirmed.
The Colorado River is drying up, millions are at risk of losing their water supply, and Indigenous communities are fighting to keep their water rights. The Western megadrought is taking its toll on American communities, but how did we get here? In his new film, River’s End: California’s Latest Water War, Jacob Morrison delves […]
World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and HP just announced that they’re taking their friendship to the next level. The odd couple is teaming up and expanding their partnership to restore, protect, and improve the management of almost one million acres of forest. HP is pledging $80 million to forest conservation and restoration, and not stopping there […]
Researchers from the National University of Singapore used data from more than 1,000 twin siblings to evaluate their opinions about environmental policy. They found identical twins were more likely to have similar views on green policy than non-identical twins, suggesting that support for climate action may have a genetic component. Felix Tropf, a professor in […]
Our Daily Planet is your daily dose of the stories shaping our world and the ways that you can take action. From the climate crisis to the protection of biodiversity, if these issues matter to you then please subscribe & stay informed!
Your privacy is Important! We promise never to use your email address to send you spam or advertisements.