The Supreme Court hears argument Tuesday in EPA v. EME Homer City Generation -- a case that offers everything a Supreme Court junkie could ask for in a potential blockbuster.
An industry challenge to an important Obama administration policy? Check. A decision by conservative judges on the D.C. Circuit striking down that policy? Check. Important stakes for the lives of ordinary Americans? Check. An early gift from Santa for Supreme Court junkies like me? Perhaps.
Let’s begin with the basics. EME Homer involves a challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, a rule designed to address the longstanding problem of interstate air pollution. Simply put, pollution generated by power plants and factories in upwind states inevitably drifts downwind into other states, putting the health of millions of citizens in those states at risk. Congress has been trying to solve this problem for decades and, through the Clean Air Act, has given the EPA authority to address it -- authority that the EPA has used to design the new rule at issue in EME Homer. However, the D.C. Circuit struck down this rule last year in a 2-1 decision [PDF] authored by conservative darling Brett Kavanaugh over a powerful dissent by Judge Judith Rogers.
These background facts alone ought to make EME Homer a case worth watching, but there’s more -- much more. Here are six reasons to keep an eye on EME Homer: