On Wednesday, the Supreme Court considered its first global warming case ever. At issue is whether carbon dioxide falls under the Clean Air Act’s definition of “pollutant” and thus whether the EPA has the responsibility to regulate emissions thereof. The ramifications of their decision could be huge — yet this is what went on in those vaunted halls of justice yesterday:

Scalia prompted laughter when he questioned whether carbon dioxide was an air pollutant or a stratosphere pollutant.

“Respectfully, your honor, it is not the stratosphere. It’s the troposphere,” said Milkey, referring to atmospheric layers that can be affected by pollution.

“Troposphere, whatever,” Scalia said as the normally silent gallery erupted in chuckles. “I told you before I’m not a scientist. That’s why I don’t want to have to deal with global warming.”

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The Supreme Court is expected to rule on this case by the middle of next year.


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