Academic Round-Up | American Electric Power Co., Inc. v. Connecticut, Frost, Amanda , SCOTUSblog, (2011)


American Electric Power v. Connecticut, argued earlier this week, spurs debate over the role of the courts in addressing climate change.

The Court heard oral argument in American Electric Power v. Connecticut on Tuesday.   The case raises questions about the role of the federal courts in addressing climate change–a subject that has interested academics as well.  Professors David Markell and J.B. Ruhl address the issue empirically by reviewing every climate change case brought through December 31, 2009, to determine whether courts are serving as “battlefields” in the “climate fights.”

A forthcoming article in the Yale Law Journal by Benjamin Ewing and Douglas Kysar argues that climate change litigation illustrates how tort law can prod political actors to address social problems.  And John Wood’s article in the Environmental Law Reporter runs through the arguments regarding displacement of public nuisance claims in the context of climate change.  All three articles contend that climate change litigation raises important questions about the relationship between the judiciary and the political branches of government.  We’ll soon learn the Court’s views on these questions as well.

See: SCOTUSblog | American Electric Power Co., Inc. v. Connecticut.

See: Markell, D., and J. B. Ruhl. “An Empirical Survey of Climate Change Litigation in the United States.” Envtl. L. Rep. News & Analysis 40 (2010): 10–644. Print.

See: Ewing, B., and D. A Kysar. “Climate Change, Courts, and the Common Law.” Print.

See: Wood, John.  "Easier Said than Done: Displacing Public Nuisance when States Sue for Climate Change". (February 17, 2011). Environmental Law Reporter, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN:

See: Greenhouse Gas Emissions Case Heads to Supreme Court