Seeking to overturn the 20th Century, the U.S. Supreme Court's right-wing majority not only upended settled law on cultural issues in recent weeks, but also abrogated well-established practice in shaping environmental regulations -- to the detriment of a burning planet.
As in their decisions on abortion, gun rights and school prayer, the court's new conservative (and Catholic) majority, in its ruling in West Virginia v. EPA, effectively enacted a public policy long-sought by Republicans. They rolled back an Obama-era regulatory framework aimed at easing climate change by weaning power plants off fossil fuels in favor of cleaner energy alternatives.
"The Court appoints itself, instead of Congress or the expert agency, the decision-maker on climate policy," Justice Elena Kagan wrote for the minority in the case, decided 6-3. "I cannot think of many things more frightening."
Who better to break down this far-reaching decision than our old friend Kelsey Brugger, an original, Before Times member of the Newsmakers TV panel, who now works as an environmental and climate reporter for E&E News in Washington D.C.
A native Californian, Kelsey went East in 2018 to advance her journalism career, after several years as a staff writer at the Santa Barbara Independent. Reporting for the influential, subscriber-based website (E&E = Energy and Environment) has presented her the challenges and opportunities of covering the most consequential crisis on Earth under both Presidents Trump and Biden, two administrations with antithetical positions on climate and just about everything else.
These clashing perspectives epitomize the "scorched earth" political landscape in D. C., she said, which has only gotten more brutal since the conservative Court began moving so aggressively on so many fronts, unsettling an already dis-unified Congress - and nation.
"The vitriol on Capitol Hill has grown exponentially worse," in the wake of recent SCOTUS rulings, Brugger said.
Ranging from Big Picture to In the Weeds on the big climate case, Kelsey also talks about the options for Biden going forward, the looming congressional midterms, the differences between the Trump and Biden press operations - and how the pandemic has transformed the ways and means of covering a beat for reporters in (all rise) Our Nation's Capital.
It's all here, right now, on Newsmakers TV.