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American Elect. Power Co. v. Connecticut

Date: August 11, 2011

U.S. Supreme Court

The specific issue in the case is whether the public nuisance claims seeking to subject American businesses that emit greenhouse gas emissions to liability for weather-related events allegedly caused by global warming violate the political question doctrine under Article III of the Constitution.  This case was the first of four such cases filed in the last few years.  Two others are on appeal (5th and 9th Circuits) and the fourth was voluntarily withdrawn.  In all four cases, the trial courts dismissed the claims as presenting nonjusticiable political questions because they would require courts to effectively set emissions levels.  The Second Circuit, in fall 2009, overturned the trial court’s decision in AEP and allowed the claim to proceed under some federal common law public nuisance theory.  Defendants are filing a petition for cert. in hopes that the U.S. Supreme Court will overturn the Second Circuit’s ruling.

Status: DECIDED. Supreme Court granted certiorari Dec 2010. Amicus brief filed on 2/7/11. Oral argument set for 4/19/11.

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