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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

Press Release

Earthjustice Statement on Justice Souter Retirement

Next Justice will play crucial role in nation's highest court

May 1, 2009


Contact: Raviya Ismail, Earthjustice (202) 667-4500


Washington, DC-- The following statement is from Glenn Sugameli, senior legislative counsel at Earthjustice:


“Retiring Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter has a distinguished, lasting legacy of upholding laws that safeguard our environment.


“President Obama’s selection of a new Justice will likely determine the fate of basic environmental safeguards for decades to come.


“For example, four of the remaining Justices unjustifiably attempted to gut the Clean Air Act’s global warming provisions, and to reinterpret the Constitution to selectively prohibit access to court in the 2007 Massachusetts v. EPA case. In that case, Justice Souter’s vote was decisive.


“One more vote would have blocked any state or citizen court challenge to the Bush EPA's refusal to enforce Clean Air Act global warming provisions, while allowing polluters to file lawsuits against any global warming regulatory safeguards that might cost them money. Obama’s EPA recently declared that greenhouse gases pose a serious threat to public health in response to the Supreme Court’s decision in that case.


“President Obama has the opportunity to select a new Justice with a record that shows respect, understanding and sensitivity to environmental laws that protect all Americans.


“Polluters have asked judges to invalidate and to rewrite key safeguards in the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, and other statutes that protect the health, safety, and rights of workers and consumers.  It is vital that the Supreme Court continue to reject these unjustifiable arguments that could threaten decades of progress in cleaning up our environment and protecting our families and communities.”