SCOTUS: A Loss And A Draw For The Chimpster

Chimpy loses on greenhouse gasses.

The U.S Supreme Court ordered the federal government Monday to take a fresh look at regulating carbon dioxide emissions from cars, a rebuke to Bush administration policy on global warming.

In a 5-4 decision, the court said the Clean Air Act gives the Environmental Protection Agency the authority to regulate the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from cars.

Greenhouse gases are air pollutants under the landmark environmental law, Justice John Paul Stevens said in his majority opinion.

The court’s four conservative justices — Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas — dissented.

The Court punts on GITMO detainees.Reuters:

A closely divided Supreme Court said on Monday it would not decide whether Guantanamo prisoners have the right to challenge their confinement before U.S. federal judges, avoiding a test of President George W. Bush’s powers in the war on terrorism.

Over the dissent of three justices, the nation’s high court said it would not rule on the constitutionality of part of an anti-terrorism law that Bush pushed through the U.S. Congress last year that takes away the right of the prisoners to get judicial review of their detention.


The U.S. Supreme Court turned away two appeals from Guantanamo Bay inmates who sought to challenge their detentions in federal court, declining to question a law that scales back judicial wartime powers.

The justices, without comment, today left intact a lower court decision that said the 2006 law validly bars federal judges from considering so-called habeas corpus petitions filed by prisoners at the U.S. naval base in Cuba.

The rejection leaves President George W. Bush, at least for now, with broad authority to control the fate of the 380 Guantanamo inmates, many now in their sixth year of captivity without charges. The rebuff doesn’t preclude the court from taking up the issue down the road.


Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and David Souter voted to hear the appeal challenging the law.

3 thoughts on “SCOTUS: A Loss And A Draw For The Chimpster

  1. I am so disappointed on the Gitmo non-decision. It seems to me that the Military Commissions Act was a spitting in the face of the Supreme Court’s most recent decision on the President’s powers of detention; the removing of jurisdiction to hear cases that were in the pipeline already struck me as outrageous (though there were so many outrageous things in that bill that it was hard to decide which was worst).
    Perhaps the Court is waiting to see if the new Congress will change the law. That’s the best construction I can put on its non-decision.

  2. Having read the Bloomberg article (note to self: read the article first and then comment), I’m a little reassured about the Gitmo case. There are three justices who would hear the issues right now, and two who believe that the detainees have to exhaust the military tribunals first before they can take the issue up with the Court.
    And there’s Christopher Dodd’s bill, which could make the whole issue moot.
    I’m going to write to my Senators again about that one; neither Clinton nor Schumer has responded to my earlier letter urging their support for this.

  3. The Court not taking the Gitmo case, while disappointing, is certainly not the worst outcome possible. Had the conservatives on the Court been sure that they would win a full-throated affirmation of the Bush position, you would have seen them voting for Certiorari. That they didn’t means that they weren’t sure they could count on Kennedy and/or Scalia (and/or Roberts) to vote their way. (and if you don’t believe me about Scalia being in doubt, go read what he wrote in the Hamdi case – not Handen, but Hamdi.)
    So we can still hope that the question comes up again somewhere on down the road, or the new Congress acts, or in 2008…

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