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Entries in Global Warming (2)

Friday
Jun102011

Supreme Court Decisions to Watch: Walmart, Violent Video Games & More

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Supreme Court term is winding down and the Justices have saved some of the most interesting cases for last. On Monday they will announce anywhere from one to four decisions. All the cases should be decided by the last week of June.

Walmart:  The Court will decide whether to allow one of the largest employment discrimination cases in history to go forward.  The case stems from a suit filed by six women who say they had been paid less than men in comparable positions despite having higher performance ratings and greater seniority.

Violent Video Games:  The Court will decide whether states can forbid the sale of violent video games to children. At issue is a California law, never allowed to go into effect, that provides for up to a $1,000 fine to retailers who sell violent video games to minors. The law defines the games as depicting   “maiming, dismembering, or sexually assaulting an image of a human being.” The video game industry argues that the law violates free speech and that parents should be left to decide what their children buy. Americans spend more than $10 billion a year on video games.

Global Warming: The Court will decide whether a coalition of states can sue five of the largest power companies and force them to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions. The states say the plants emit 650 million tons of carbon dioxide each year , and they seek to sue under the common law of public nuisance. The companies, joined by the Obama administration argue that the issue should be handled by the political branches of government and not by the courts.

Campaign Spending Law: In its first campaign finance case since Citizen's United, the Court will review an Arizona public financing law. A provision of the Clean Elections Act gives public money to candidates who choose to forgo private fundraising. Supporters of campaign finance reform believe that laws like the 1998 Clean Elections Act could ultimately reduce spending. But private groups say the law squelches the First Amendment rights of organizations seeking to have their message heard.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr192011

Global Warming Comes to the Supreme Court

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Supreme Court took on the issue of global warming Tuesday in a case regarding whether a coalition of states can sue five of the country's largest power companies to force them to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions.

The states argue that the companies' plants emit 650 million tons of carbon dioxide each year -- 10 percent of the entire country's emissions. They seek to sue the power plants under the common law of public nuisance and are asking a district court judge to set standards for emissions.

The Supreme Court will decide whether the states have the legal right to bring the suit and whether the issue would be more properly handled by the political branches of government.

Peter D. Keisler, representing four of the power companies, argues that the states can't sue the companies for contributions to global climate change because "billions" of other independent sources have contributed to "more than a century of emissions."

"Every sector of the economy worldwide produces greenhouse gases," Keisler said in court.

He also argued that the state cannot sue under the doctrine of common law (the body of judge-made law that exists in the absence of statutes) because Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency are already working to address the issue.

But New York State Solicitor General Barbara D. Underwood, who argued on behalf of the states, said there is a firm basis for their effort to take action against the companies.

"This case rests on the longstanding fundamental authority of the states to protect their land, their natural resources and their citizens from air pollution emitted in other states," she said.

The states involved in the case are New York, Connecticut, California, Rhode Island, Iowa and Vermont.

The Chamber of Commerce filed a brief in support of the power companies, which include American Electric Power Company and Cinergy Corporation.

"The Chamber believes that common law suits such as this one, which seek to impose caps and reductions on carbon dioxide emissions in a piecemeal fashion on an arbitrary subset of U.S. industry are an especially ill-conceived and constitutionally illegitimate response," the brief said.

The court is expected to decide the case by this summer.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 







ABC News Radio