The lawsuit was filed by 12 states and 13 environmental groups that had grown frustrated by the Bush administration’s inaction on global warming. BushCo's argument was that the EPA did NOT have to address vehicle emissions, in other words..it wasn't their problem. There are several important decisions within this one case:
- Do states have the right to sue the EPA to challenge its decision?
- Does the Clean Air Act give EPA the authority to regulate tailpipe emissions of greenhouse gases?
- Does EPA have the discretion not to regulate those emissions?
The court said yes to the first two questions. On the third, it ordered EPA to re-evaluate its contention it has the discretion not to regulate tailpipe emissions. The court said the agency has so far provided a “laundry list” of reasons that include foreign policy considerations.
The important vote, as per usual, was Justice Kennedy's. He voted with the courts liberal faction on this case. Kennedy's swing vote makes or breaks a case and this one was no exception.