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The Political Question Doctrineâ

December 2010

Citation: ELR 11229

Author: Nathan Howe

Editors' Summary

Two recent circuit court decisions, Connecticut v. American Electric Power and Comer v. Murphy Oil USA, have ruled on the political question doctrine as it is applied in climate change nuisance litigation. These decisions focused on the critical third Baker formulation-- requiring an initial policy decision, in determining that these cases were justiciable and within the judiciary's jurisdiction, paving the way for climate change litigation. However, it is still uncertain what role litigation will hold in this period before legislation, and there may be options available to emitters who may now be subject to litigation.

Nathan Howe is a third-year law student at Washington and Lee School of Law.

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