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Monday, 23 June 2014 11:47
Supreme Court: Greenhouse Gases, Sports Betting, and Abortion
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Supreme-court-coloredToday, the US Supreme Court made decisions on greenhouse gas emission regulation, sports betting in New Jersey, and abortion clinics in Wisconsin. The last decision might have consequences for the state of Louisiana, as Gov. Bobby Jindal just signed an abortion clinic bill very similar to the one in Wisconsin on which the Supreme Court refused to intervene.



On Monday, a divided Supreme Court blocked the Obama administration from requiring permits for some industries that emit greenhouse gases, Richard Wolf of USA Today writes. The ruling does not, however, prohibit other means of regulating this pollutant.

The conservative wing, consisting of five judges, ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exceeding its authority when it changed the emissions limit for greenhouse gases in the Clean Air Act.

Justice Antonin Scalia pointed out that EPA can already regulate industries responsible for 83% of all greenhouse gases from stationary sources nationwide because these sources are already required to have permits for other types of emissions. The court's liberal wing argued that "EPA's actions were reasonable in order to avoid an absurd over-regulation of pollutants such as carbon dioxide - and would help the very industries seeking to overturn them."

Industries, conservatives states, Republican lawmakers, and others have protested against EPA's regulation of greenhouse gas emissions that began in 2010, claiming that the Clean Air Act does not empower them to regulate in this manner. The Obama administration, environmental groups, and a number of states (e.g. California and New York), on the other hand, argue that the Clean Air Act was meant to address all air pollutants, including greenhouse gases.


Also on Monday, the Supreme Court left in place a ban on sports gambling in New Jersey. The state had appealed to the Supreme Court to attempt to start professional and college sporting betting in Atlantic City. According to an article on New York CBS, an estimated $500 billion is bet illegally on sporting events each year in the Garden State.

Sen Raymond Lesniak, the author of the bill, is still hopeful. He plans to sanction sports betting in time for the NFL season, hoping that the U.S. Justice Department will not challenge it. An overwhelming majority of voters in New Jersey was in favor of legalizing sports betting in 2011. The 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, however, limits sports betting to a few states, including Nevada, Delaware, Montana, and Oregon.


On Monday, the US Supreme Court refused to intervene in a legal fight in Wisconsin over a new law that requires doctors performing abortions to have privileges to hospital located within 30 miles of his/her practice. Opponents of the law argue that this law will shut down half of the state's abortion clinics. Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and Affiliated Medical services therefore challenged the measure in court. However, the Supreme Court decided to remain silent and wait for the final ruling on the legal challenge. Read more about how this decision can affect Louisiana here.

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