As the Senate girds itself for battle over the Supreme Court, a reminder this morning that judges can really affect the national agenda.
Two Republican-appointed federal appeals court judges outvoted a Democratic-appointed counterpart in rejecting an effort to push the Bush administration to limit greenhouse has emissions from motor vehicles.
In a 2-1 ruling, the judges ruled that the EPA was within its legal authority when it rejected a 1999 petition from environmentalists seeking national controls on motor vehicle greenhouse gas emissions.
As Greenwire described it:
“The decision by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia dismissed a lawsuit filed by 11 states and 14 environmental groups that sought to force the Bush administration to issue mandatory controls for carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions from new cars and trucks.
Judges A. Raymond Randolph and David Sentelle, appointees of former President George H.W. Bush, said EPA exercised ample discretion in 2001 when it denied what was then a three-year-old petition before the agency from the International Center for Technology Assessment.”
Clinton appointee David Tatel dissented.
Tatel also dissented in 1999 when two Republican judges set aside EPA’s national air quality standards for smog and soot. Ultimately the Supreme Court upheld Tatel in that case. Of course, the Supreme Court’s membership is changing.
Former Bush I White House counsel C. Boyden Gray vetted both Randolph and Sentelle; now, of course, he is quarterbacking conservative lobbying efforts on the Supreme Court selections.
This case is a graphic reminder that it matters who gets appointed to be a judge.