Chief Justice John Roberts could decide on a motion to halt the Obama administration’s far-reaching climate rules as soon as this week, say lawyers familiar with the litigation.
The quickest scenario involves Roberts issuing the decision “right away by himself,” in which case the petitioners “could get a decision as early as next Friday.” (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Two motions to stay Obama’s climate rules were sent to the Supreme Court last week, one from 29 states and another by dozens of utilities, large manufacturers and oil companies.
The climate plan, called the Clean Power Plan, is unprecedented in scope, which is why so many groups and states oppose it. The plan directs states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions a third by 2030, as part of a broader administration effort to combat manmade climate change. Many scientists say the emissions, primarily carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels, are causing the Earth’s climate to warm, resulting in more severe weather, longer droughts and more flooding.
The request to halt the rules came less than a week after the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a stay request by the states and industry. Yet the court did expedite oral arguments on the merits of the plaintiffs’ separate lawsuits against the plan, which will move forward in June.
But that wasn’t enough for the opponents of the landmark regulation, and they almost immediately asked the high court to consider staying the rule ahead of lower court’s decision.
Such motions usually go directly to the chief justice, lawyers say. Roberts promptly responded by ordering the Environmental Protection Agency, the respondent in the case, to reply to the motions by Thursday.