Wetland ruling

Wetland ruling

Is it half-full or half empty?

Whether the Supreme Court’s decision last week on federal protection of wetlands is a glass half full or half empty for environmental protection depends on whether you focus on what the decision did or on what four justices threatened to do.

What it did is not much. … Justice Anthony M. Kennedy – who supplied the crucial fifth vote – did so on far narrower grounds than his colleagues. His vote, along with those of the four dissenting justices, paradoxically creates a different majority that should allow strong federal protection to continue. The troubling feature of the case is how close Justice Antonin Scalia’s opinion for the court’s conservative flank came to becoming law …

…. The difficulty with Justice Scalia’s answer to this (issue) … is his opinion also drips with hostility toward environmental protection as a goal.

There is a broader issue: The bloc favoring a harder-line approach to environmental enforcement could be among the more dangerous features of the new Roberts Court.

The Washington Post