So what are we to call the Supremes' 5-4 ruling in Michigan v, Environmental Protection Agency? A consolation prize? If so, it isn't much of one:
A divided Supreme Court on Monday ruled against federal regulators' attempt to limit power plant emissions of mercury and other hazardous air pollutants.
The rules began to take effect in April, but the court split 5-4 along ideological lines to rule that the Environmental Protection Agency failed to take their cost into account when the agency first decided to regulate the toxic emissions from coal- and oil-fired plants.
The EPA did factor in costs at a later stage when it wrote standards that are expected to reduce the toxic emissions by 90%. They were supposed to be fully in place next year. The issue was whether health risks are the only consideration under the Clean Air Act.
The challenge was brought by industry groups and twenty-one Republican-led States.
That should have simply nullified these illegal EPA regs instead. This time, at least, they got lucky.
Writing for the court, Justice Antonin Scalia said it is not appropriate to impose billions of dollars of economic costs in return for a few dollars in health or environmental benefits.
The case now goes back to lower courts for the EPA to decide how to account for costs.
Which is to say, the Obama EPA will double-down and ignore this SCOTUS ruling,
Why do I say that it's not much of a consolation prize? Because the EPA itself is flagrantly unconstitutional, as nowhere in the founding document's seven Articles or twenty-seven Amendments is the federal government legally authorized to micromanage environmental issues, with or without honest, good-faith cost-benefit analyses,
And also because of the other big-name decision they "handed down" today that bars the States from requiring proof of U,S, citizenship before one can register to vote:
The Supreme Court refused to consider letting states require evidence of citizenship when people register to vote for federal elections, rejecting an appeal from Arizona and Kansas.
The rebuff is a victory for the Obama administration and voting- and minority-rights groups that battled the two States in court. It leaves intact a decision by a U.S. agency that blocked the States from requiring proof of citizenship for voters in federal elections.
Apparently the Supremes are of the unmoored legal opinion that the "honor system" is sufficient, even though we have to show ID before we can swipe our debit cards to buy a damned sandwich at Subway.
In essence, in storm of dog turds, they threw us a single Milk Bone.
UPDATE: Remember Texas's victory for life and the Constitution? Guess who's - "temporarily" - "fundamentally transformed" it into yet another crushing defeat?:
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to block temporarily parts of a strict new Texas abortion law. The court granted a request by women's health providers, which had asked it to put a temporary hold on a June 9th Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling. The groups had asked the high court to put the provisions on hold until they can file a formal petition asking the justices to take the case.
The provisions were due to take effect on July 1st.
The court was divided 5-4, with conservative Anthony Kennedy joining the court's four liberals in granting the stay request.
With the court now recessed for the summer, no further action is likely until at least the fall.
Remember what Tony Stark said when he crashed into Baron Strucker's mind-gem force field in the opening scene of Avengers II (at 0:48)?
Seems even more appropriate here.