• Justice Elena Kagan slammed the Supreme Court for allowing itself to regulate the environment.
  • The Court on Thursday ruled to limit the federal government's ability to regulate gas emissions.
  • Kagan ripped the Court, calling the decision "frightening."

Justice Elena Kagan ripped the Supreme Court on Thursday after it ruled to limit the federal government's ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, arguing conservatives on the high court had made themselves the "decisionmaker on climate policy."

The ruling from the Supreme Court in the case West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency will limit the agency's ability to set environmental regulations — a ruling that could have massive implications on the government's ability to fight climate change. 

"The subject matter of the regulation here makes the Court's intervention all the more troubling. Whatever else this Court may know about, it does not have a clue about how to address climate change," Kagan wrote in her dissenting opinion.

She continued: "And let's say the obvious: The stakes here are high. Yet the Court today prevents congressionally authorized agency action to curb power plants' carbon dioxide emissions. The Court appoints itself — instead of Congress or the expert agency — the decisionmaker on climate policy. I cannot think of many things more frightening."

In an opinion supporting the ruling, Justice Neil Gorsuch said that, "in reaching its judgment, the Court hardly professes to 'appoint itself' 'the decision-maker on climate policy."

He continued: "The Court acknowledges only that, under our Constitution, the people's elected representatives in Congress are the decisionmakers here — and they have not clearly granted the agency the authority it claims for itself." 

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