PLF’s Supreme Court watch


Author: Timothy Sandefur

June is Supreme Court season—when the high court usually issues its most interesting and controversial decisions. Pacific Legal Foundation attorneys are watching to see what the justices have to say about several cases in which we’ve filed briefs:

On the merits

1. American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut (PLF’s brief)

The case involves the applicability of the common law doctrine of “public nuisance” to environmental pollution. Does federal law allow courts to use this more nebulous doctrine to restrict carbon emissions, or are such lawsuits barred by the doctrine of standing or preempted by statutes like the Clean Air Act?

2. Dukes v. Wal-Mart (PLF’s brief)

This case centers on the criteria for determining whether a class action can proceed.  The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals allowed this discrimination case, the largest class action lawsuit in history, to proceed not because Wal-Mart has a discriminatory employment policy, but because Wal-Mart lacks any central employment policy at all, and that is allegedly a form of discrimination. (Read more here.)

On cert. petitions:*

3. Public Lands Council v. Western Watersheds Project (PLF’s brief)

4. Philip Morris v. Jackson (PLF’s brief)

5. And, finally, PLF is representing the petitioners in a Sackett v. EPA (PLF’s brief), in which we’ve asked the Supreme Court to take the case of an Idaho family who have been denied their right to challenge the EPA’s control over their land. You can read more about that case here.

*-In the coming weeks, PLF will be urging the Court to take some other cases, too. We will post about those when the briefs are filed.