F. William Brownell

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On July 9, President Trump announced Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit as his nominee to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh has developed an extensive history of jurisprudence during his twelve-year tenure on the DC Circuit. And, given the DC Circuit’s heavy administrative law caseload, Kavanaugh has authored numerous opinions involving environmental law. The upcoming confirmation process is sure to include a focus on…
In recent years, plaintiffs’ attorneys and public-interest groups have brought common law actions seeking injunctive relief or damages for air emissions they claim cause climate change. Because climate change is a global phenomenon, these actions have targeted both in-state and out-of-state sources. Does state common law reach this far? A state’s common law is founded in its police powers, which are among the powers that the Constitution generally reserved to the states. By contrast, the…
Executive Branch agencies write vague rules.  Then they give them meaning through interpretation.  That meaning may change over time through re-interpretation.  Indeed, it is not hard to find examples of rules that meant one thing one day and the opposite the next.  See, e.g.,  Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association, 135 S. Ct. 1199 (2015).  This is a problem for regulated entities that face penalties for failure to comply.  Reflecting such concerns, the deference doctrine has…