The Supreme Court wrapped up its term, releasing its final two decisions on key cases on Thursday (June 30). In the first case, the Supreme Court ruled that the Biden administration can cancel the Trump-era Migrant Protection Protocols, which are also known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy.
Under the rules, migrants coming to the United States had to wait in Mexico until their cases could be heard by a judge. The Biden administration tried to end the policy but was blocked by a lower court.
While the Supreme Court handed the Biden administration a victory in that case, it dealt the government a defeat in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency. In a 6-3 ruling, the Justices found the EPA does not have the authority to enact sweeping regulations to shift the nation’s energy production away from fossil fuels.
The case centered around whether the EPA had the power to unilaterally craft broad regulations on power plants under the Clean Air Act. While Chief Justice John Roberts lauded the goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions, he said that Congress did not grant the agency the power to enact the regulations. Instead, regulations of that magnitude need to be passed by Congress, Roberts explained.
“Capping carbon dioxide emissions at a level that will force a nationwide transition away from the use of coal to generate electricity may be a sensible ‘solution to the crisis of the day,'” Roberts wrote in the Court’s opinion. “But it is not plausible that Congress gave EPA the authority to adopt on its own such a regulatory scheme in Section 111(d). A decision of such magnitude and consequence rests with Congress itself, or an agency acting pursuant to a clear delegation from that representative body.”
The ruling could have a significant impact on other federal agencies by limiting their ability to authority rules and regulations without Congressional approval.