Scalia's death boosts legal chances for Obama's climate plan


A vote to block the Obama administration's ambitious climate regulation was one of Antonin Scalia's last acts as a Supreme Court justice. His sudden death may have opened a new path to the rule's survival.

Scalia died Saturday. Four days earlier, he voted with the other conservative members of the high court to put a hold on the administration's plans to implement the Clean Power Plan while it is litigated.

The regulation is designed to lower carbon emissions from U.S. power plants by 2030 to 32 percent below 2005 levels. The rule is the United States' main tool to meet the emissions reduction target pledge it made at U.N. climate talks in Paris in December.

It was challenged by 27 states, along with business and industry groups, in a case now before an appeals court in Washington, D.C. The Supreme Court could be asked to weigh in again later this year.

Without Scalia, the conservative members of the court no longer have a majority, at least in the short term. The sudden shift has given a boost to the supporters of the emissions rule. (by Lawrence Hurley, Reuters)