“As the U.S. Senate considers the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, the significance is high. Justice Anthony Kennedy’s resignation has the potential to shift the Court’s balance, with implications for a broad array of critical issues including the bedrock judicial precedents and Congressional enactments that protect the environment and public health for all Americans.
“As U.S. Senators carry out their responsibility to advise and consent, they will weigh many factors. Environmental Defense Fund seeks to inform Senators and other interested parties on the momentous environmental issues that have long been our focus.
“When it comes to any nominee to the high Court, two core principles guide our thinking:
“First, would the nominee, if confirmed, respect the central legal precedents that make up the foundation of our nation’s public health and environmental laws?
“Second, would the nominee respect Congress’s delegation of responsibility to the Environmental Protection Agency to carry out our nation’s environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act, as necessary to protect our nation’s public health, safety and welfare?
“On these critical principles, Judge Kavanaugh’s rulings have not shown respect for such precedents, or the delegation of responsibility to EPA required to protect the environment and public health. He has ruled to overturn EPA protections anchored in statute even when their public health benefits clearly outweigh their costs.
“In 2012, for example, while serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Judge Kavanaugh struck down the Clean Air Act’s Cross State Air Pollution Rule, which is responsible for preventing up to 34,000 premature deaths each year and improving air quality for 240 million Americans. According to EPA, the rule’s public health benefits are more than 100 times its highly efficient compliance costs. Fortunately, in 2014, six Supreme Court Justices overruled Judge Kavanaugh’s opinion and these clean air protections were reinstated. Notably, Justice Kennedy, whom Judge Kavanaugh would replace on the Supreme Court, voted to uphold EPA’s authority to safeguard the nation’s air quality.
“It is the responsibility of each Senator to weigh these critical questions as this historic nomination is decided.”
- Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense Fund
# # #
Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org), a leading international nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships. Connect with us on EDF Voices, Twitter and Facebook.