Sean Hecht in The New York Times: Supreme Court Case Could Limit Future Lawsuits Against Fossil Fuel Industry
The court heard arguments on a technical legal question in a case that demands fossil fuel companies help pay for the costs of dealing with climate change and could help shape the fate of dozens of similar lawsuits across the country.
What concerns some environmental law experts is that by allowing a broader review of the lower court’s decision, the justices might scuttle similar cases, or send a strong signal that the lower courts should do so. Sean B. Hecht, a co-executive director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law, said that while the issue presented before the court was “hyper-technical,” the fossil fuel companies were “trying to make the court look at a much bigger question” as to whether the case should be governed by state or federal law. “It’s a pretty audacious ask” that essentially says, “While we’re here, it would save everybody time if you just help us get rid of this case now,” he said.