Monday, April 2, 2007

Transnational docket

The U.S. Supreme Court issued 2 decisions of transnational importance this morning: Boumediene v. Bush and Massachusetts v. EPA.
In Boumediene, the Court denied a petition for expedited consideration of the validity of roadblocks to full judicial review of Guantánamo detainees' suits -- roadblocks set up by Congress in October 2006, when it enacted the Military Commissions Act. Despite the Court's extension of litigation rights to such detainees, in the 2004 decision in Rasul v. Bush and again in the June 2006 decision in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the Act channels review into a very narrow, very likely inadequate procedure. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia will have the 1st opportunity to try to make due process lemonade out of the lemons Congress has handed it; the Supreme Court will be able to review the lower court's work later.
Justices Stephen Breyer, David Souter, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented from today's denial of cert. But Justice John Paul Stevens, author of the Court's opinions in Hamdan and Rasul, joined Justice Anthony M. Kennedy in voting to hold off making any decision at this time. The 2 issued their own statement, which put the executive on notice that they'd revisit the question of review sooner than later if subsequent proceedings should be "unreasonably delayed" or the cause of "some other and ongoing injury."
In Massachusetts, the Court voted 5-4 in favor of state governments and nongovernmental organizations, thus requiring the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to re-examine whether to regulate the emissions of greenhouse gases that "[r]espected scientists," as Justice Stevens' opinion for the Court called them, say contribute to global warming. (Seems 5 members of the Court may believe that "Inconvenient" is true.)

No comments: