"By agreeing to hear a narrowly focused challenge to one portion of the Obama administration's global-warming regulatory agenda, the Supreme Court on Tuesday cast uncertainty on the scope and timing of President Obama's ambitious efforts to fight climate change—an issue on which, like his signature health care law, he hopes to build his legacy."
"In taking up the appeal, the Court declined to go as far as conservatives and industry groups had hoped, declining to review whether the government possesses the legal authority at all to regulate so-called greenhouse gases. Still, the case raises the question of just how far the administration can go to use that authority to impose regulations on major polluters such as factories and oil refineries.
The case highlights one of the signature difficulties of Obama's efforts to combat global warming. Absent action from a gridlocked Congress, Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency are attempting to use the existing authority of the 40-year-old Clean Air Act to write new rules governing climate change and carbon pollution. While the law gives the federal government the authority to do this, its statutes, which were written in an era before fears of the shifting climate, aren't clear on exactly how the law can be interpreted to counter carbon pollution -- which may lead to legal vulnerabilities."