Tuesday, June 30, 2015

SUPREME COURT - End-Term Rulings

"Supreme Court ends term with rulings on EPA, voter redistricting and lethal injection" PBS NewsHour 6/29/2015


SUMMARY:  The Supreme Court ended a dramatic session with high-profile rulings on three issues:  how the EPA regulates air pollution, how to map voting lines and the death penalty by lethal injection.  Judy Woodruff learns more from Marcia Coyle of The National Law Journal.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  The U.S. Supreme Court closed out a dramatic session today with three more high-profile decisions.  The latest rulings touched on how the Environmental Protection Agency regulates our air, how to map voting lines and how states carry out the death penalty.

Justices also put on hold a Texas law that was set to close a number of clinics that perform abortions in the state this week.

And joining me to discuss it all is our hardworking court expert, Marcia Coyle, with “The National Law Journal.”

No shortage.  They went out — they’re going out with a bang.  Let’s put it that way.

MARCIA COYLE, The National Law Journal:  They absolutely are, Judy.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  So, let’s start with this Texas decision.  This was an emergency appeal that the court granted this afternoon to block the state of Texas from immediately imposing these stricter regulations on abortion clinics.  What was happening here?


A lower federal court had ruled against the Whole Women’s Health clinic and other abortion clinics in Texas in their challenge to the Texas law, which requires the clinic to meet all the standards of ambulatory surgical facilities, which the clinics claim they are not, and also that their physicians have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of the clinic.

This is a temporary delay to allow the clinics to file what we call a petition for cert, their appeal of that lower court decision.  Four justices would have allowed the lower court’s decision to go into effect immediately, the Chief Justice and Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito.

July 1 was the deadline.  That’s when the lower court decision was to take effect.  So, it’s now on hold.  The appeals by the clinics have not yet been filed in the Supreme Court.

"What the Supreme Court’s mercury ruling means for the EPA" PBS NewsHour 6/29/2015


SUMMARY:  The Supreme Court ruled against the Environmental Protection Agency in a case on how federal regulators set limits on mercury emitted from power plants, finding that the EPA failed to take economic costs into account.  Jeffrey Brown examines the implications with Dr. Lynn Goldman of the George Washington University and Jeffrey Holmstead of Environmental Strategies Group.

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