The state attorneys general leading the court fight against President Obama’s landmark climate change rule say they are optimistic that their unusual legal strategy will work.
While admitting that asking the Supreme Court to block the rule before a lower court decision is a gamble, the officials for West Virginia and Texas say their argument is sound.
“We acknowledge that an application for a stay at this stage isn’t typical,” West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R) told reporters Wednesday.
“But what the EPA has done here is literally unprecedented, and they’re acting in a manner that’s clearly in violation of the rule of law, and recent Supreme Court cases,” he said.
Morrisey and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt (R), along with representatives of 24 other states, asked the Supreme Court last week to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from enforcing the power plant rule while it is being litigated in federal court.
The states took the unusual step after the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which is considering the merits of their lawsuit, declined earlier in January to issue a judicial stay.
The attorneys general argue that their states will experience irreparable harm during the litigation and that only a stay would prevent that.
Morrisey cited last year’s Supreme Court ruling in against the EPA’s mercury rule for power plants as an example of when a ruling comes too late, since most power plants had already complied with the standard.
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