Thursday, November 19, 2009

Salzman and Ruhl on the Most Important Court Rulings in Environmental Law

Jim Salzman (Duke) and JB Ruhl (Florida State) have an interesting new article in The Environmental Forum (Vol 26, No. 6, Nov/Dec 2009) reporting the results of a survey of environmental law practitioners of the "greatest hits" in environmental law jurisprudence. Three things surprised me about this list: (1) There is less difference than I would have expected between practitioners with more than 15 years experience and those with less than 15 years experience; (2) The staying power of older cases, such as TVA v. Hill (The Snail Darter case) and Chevron (standard of judicial review of agency decision making), is impressive. And (3) the high ranking of the recent and not-all-that significant Supreme Court decisions in Rapanos (wetlands permitting) and Mass v. EPA (EPA has authority to regulate auto emissions of greenhouse gases under Clean Air Act), which could be explained by the salience of Supreme Court decisions, which are relatively rare in Environmental Law, and possibly some sort of availability heuristic based on their recent vintage.

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