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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Live Wire

    Blowing smoke

    The current Supreme Court is a talented group of jurists, but until (Monday) we didn’t think their expertise ran to climatology. In Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency, a narrow majority managed to diminish the rules of judicial standing, rewrite the definition of “”pollutant”” under the Clean Air Act, and dramatically curtail the decision-making authority of the executive branch. Judging from Justice John Paul Stevens’s 5-4 majority decision, they did so because the five Justices are personally anxious about rising temperatures. The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to regulate “”any air pollutant”” from cars that might “”endanger public health or welfare,”” though the majority took the widest view that the definition includes any “”physical, chemical”” substance that goes in the air. (Next up: oxygen.) Justice (Antonin) Scalia poked fun at this reasoning, noting Webster’s definition of “”pollute”” is “”to make or render impure or unclean”” – which might apply to sulfur dioxide or other dirty gases but not a product of human respiration that resides in the upper atmosphere. In any case, isn’t this something for Congress to decide?

    – The Wall Street Journal

    A victory for greens

    It would be hard to overstate the importance of yesterday’s ruling by the Supreme Court that the federal government has the authority to regulate the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases produced by motor vehicles. It is a victory for a world whose environment seems increasingly threatened by climate change. It is a vindication for states like California that chose not to wait for the federal government and acted to limit emissions that contribute to global warming. And it should feed the growing momentum on Capitol Hill for mandatory limits on carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas.

    – The New York Times

    Congress shall make no law…

    It is an uncertain time for journalists, and a particularly precarious one for the First Amendment. But in the face of weighty issues, such as protecting journalists’ right to keep sources confidential or the ability of the press to expose certain government secrets, smaller-seeming assaults can get lost. The right of college journalists to print without fear of administrative censorship, which has been corroded by courts in recent years, is such an issue. The College Campus Press Act – an Illinois state bill ensuring that college media at public universities is not subject to review by their administrations – addresses this troubling new standard. The Illinois bill protects the central principle of college journalism, indeed all journalism: thorough and unbiased coverage. Newspapers which print in fear of administrative reproach cannot effectively do their job. To subject a newspaper to administration review is to undermine the ability of student reporters to thoroughly and critically provide an invaluable service to their communities: to discern and disseminate the truth.

    – The Harvard Crimson

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