The Supreme Court has issued rulings on some of its biggest remaining cases of this term. Here’s what to know about the latest decisions.
West Virginia v. EPA verdict: On Thursday morning, the court ruled in favor — 6-3 — of limiting the power of the federal government to regulate carbon emissions from power plants, according to The New York Times.
- This ruling means that the Environmental Protection Agency cannot require power plants to move away from fossil fuels and use lower-emission energy sources, per Business Insider.
- The court decided that, through the Clean Air Act, the EPA does not have the power to legally limit carbon dioxide emissions, per CBS News.
- In dissent to the ruling, the liberal justices of the court stated that the conservative majority had removed the EPA’s “power to respond to the most pressing environmental challenge of our time,” The New York Times reported.
- “Capping carbon dioxide emissions at a level that will force a nationwide transition away from the use of coal to generate electricity may be a sensible ‘solution to the crisis of the day,’” Chief Justice Roberts said, via CBS. “But it is not plausible that Congress gave EPA the authority to adopt on its own such a regulatory scheme in Section 111(d). A decision of such magnitude and consequences rests with Congress itself, or an agency acting pursuant to a clear delegation from that representative body.”
- In a 5-4 ruling, the court decided that the decision to allow migrants to remain in the U.S. while their immigration hearings play out does not violate a 1996 migrant detention law.
- “Due to the huge numbers of aliens who attempt to enter illegally from Mexico, DHS (Department of Homeland Security) does not have the capacity to detain all inadmissible aliens encountered at the border, and no one suggests that DHS must do the impossible,” reads a dissent from Justices Alito, Thomas and Gorsuch, via NBC News. “But rather than avail itself of Congress’s clear statutory alternative to return inadmissible aliens to Mexico while they await proceedings in this country, DHS has concluded that it may forgo that option altogether and instead simply release into this country untold numbers of aliens who are very likely to be removed if they show up for their removal hearings. This practice violates the clear terms of the law, but the Court looks the other way.”
- “President Trump also employed the return-to-Mexico option for a relatively small group of noncitizens,” stated Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who wrote in favor of the decision, according to Reuters. He also remarked that every president since the late 1990s has allowed immigrants to stay in the U.S. while they wait for their proceedings.
Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta verdict: The court ruled Wednesday that states have the power to prosecute non-Native people who commit crimes against Native Americans on their own land, per The New York Times.
- Local tribal leaders and law experts said, via NBC, that this ruling is a “heavy blow to the sovereignty of tribes over their land and governance.” They fear that the ruling will interfere with other laws that are currently decided by tribal courts, such as environmental regulation and child welfare.
- However, the ruling leaves in place the 2020 court decision — McGirt v. Oklahoma — that ruled that Native Americans who commit crimes on reservations can only be prosecuted by tribal or federal courts, but not at the state level, The New York Times reported.
- In support of the decision, Kavanaugh stated that the reservations are still on state land and are “not entirely separate sovereign powers.” He wrote, “As a matter of state sovereignty, a State has jurisdiction over all of its territory, including Indian country,” per NBC.