Daniel A. Farber

Posts by Daniel A. Farber

In American Electric Power v. Connecticut (AEP), several states, New York City, and some nonprofit land trusts had sued five major electric power companies. The plaintiffs contended that the power companies were committing a public nuisance with their unrestricted use of fossil fuels. The plaintiffs faced a multitude of legal and evidentiary hurdles. On June 20, the Supreme Court ruled against the plaintiffs 8-0. As losses go, however, it was not nearly as damaging as it could have been.

Lower court judges had divided about whether suits of this type were even within the jurisdiction of the federal courts. Some district judges said the suits were nonjusticiable “political questions,” and the defendants also argued that the injury to the plaintiffs was too diffuse, speculative, and indirect to give them standing to sue. Keep reading →