The Endangered Environmental Laws Program tracks court cases that target the structure and foundations of environmental law. When judges accept the kinds of anti-regulatory, “federalism,” and “property rights” arguments advanced in these cases, the resulting damage to the legal framework for environmental protection can be far-reaching—and difficult, if not impossible, to repair.
Typically, these cases involve one or more of four conceptual “pillars” on which environmental protection in the United States stands. Enshrined in federal and state law for over three decades, these pillars have been built through bipartisan legislation, implemented by Democratic and Republican presidents alike, upheld at every level of the federal courts, and supported by a steady majority of the public. Today, property-rights advocates and anti-regulatory crusaders wield a variety of legal doctrines and theories to attack the environmental values these pillars support.
Click below on any of the four pillars—or on one of the legal doctrines or theories used to threaten that pillar—to see the most important recent and pending cases: