Three weeks ago, after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit denied motions to stay the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, I wrote a cautiously optimistic post about what that decision signaled for the future of the historic climate rule. I explained that the judges’ refusal to put the EPA’s plan on hold while they evaluated the lawsuits against it didn’t necessarily mean that they would ultimately side with the agency on the merits of the case. And even if the plan were upheld by the D.C. Circuit, I warned, that decision would almost certainly be appealed to the Supreme Court.

One possibility I didn’t raise was that the Supreme Court would get involved in the case right away, without waiting for the D.C. Circuit to issue a final ruling.

And yet, last Tuesday, that’s what happened. For the first time in U.S. history, the Supreme Court stepped in to stay a regulation that was still being reviewed by a lower court.