DOJ, State Officials Among Supporters Of Energy Producers In Supreme Court Case As Oral Arguments Scheduled

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it will hear oral arguments on January 19, 2021 in its review of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision remanding Baltimore’s climate change lawsuit against major energy producers to state court. Since the high court initially decided to take up the case in October, the nation’s leading government officials, trade associations, and legal organizations have submitted amicus briefs in support of the energy companies’ position that the case should be heard at the federal – not state – level.

As EID Climate previously reported, SCOTUS will be weighing in on the scope of appellate review – in particular, whether an appellate court can review any issue in a trial court’s remand order when the case had been removed in part under the federal-officer removal statute (more on what that is here), or if its review is limited solely to the federal officer removal grounds. The Supreme Court’s decision in this matter will help decide whether more than 20 similar climate lawsuits filed around the country should be heard in state or federal court. The plaintiffs have fought to keep these cases in state court, believing they have a better shot at success in those venues. Meanwhile, the defendant energy companies have argued that the cases should be heard in federal court where the legal precedent is much more favorable.

Therefore, a decision that sends these cases to federal court could deliver a fatal blow to the entire climate litigation campaign. As the Washington Post stated, “Should the Supreme Court rule in favor of the oil companies, it may make it harder for cities and states to secure victory in the climate cases.”

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