Supreme Court 2021 Term Roundup: Environmental Law and the States
- Tuesday, July 19, 2022
- 12:30pm–1:45pm ET
- Online Event
On Tuesday, July 19 from 12:30pm - 1:45pm ET, we were joined by appellate advocates and state Solicitors General for a conversation about the term’s cases and the impact that those cases could have on states and environmental law. This program was co-hosted by the State Energy & Environmental Impact Center and the State and Local Legal Center.
Please note, CLE credit is only available for participants who attended the event live. You cannot receive credit by viewing the recording.
Solicitor General, Oregon Attorney General
Ben Gutman serves as the solicitor general in the Oregon Department of Justice. Ben and his team represent the state in cases on appeal in the United States and Oregon Supreme Courts. Before becoming the solicitor general, Ben was the chief administrative judge and western regional director for the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board. He also was a member of the federal government’s senior executive service. Earlier in his career, he served as deputy solicitor general for the State of New York and as an appellate attorney for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Ben has a B.A. magna cum laude in math and philosophy from Yale College and a J.D. from Yale Law School, where he served as executive editor of the Yale Law Journal.
Partner, Lehotsky Keller LLP; Former Solicitor General, Oklahoma Attorney General
Mithun Mansinghani is Partner at Lehotsky Keller LLP. He served as Solicitor General for the State of Oklahoma. He was appointed by Attorney General Mike Hunter in 2017 after serving for the prior two years as Deputy Solicitor General. As Solicitor General, Mr. Mansinghani led litigation on behalf of the State in appeals, constitutional matters, and relations with the federal government and other states. This included representing the State in cases before the Oklahoma Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court. Prior to joining the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office, Mr. Mansinghani was a lawyer for Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in Washington, D.C., specializing in appeals and administrative law cases. Mr. Mansinghani also served as a law clerk to the Honorable Jerry E. Smith on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He received his bachelor’s degree magna cum laude in both political science and policy studies from Rice University and his law degree with honors from Harvard Law School, where he served as editor of the Harvard Law Review.
Solicitor General, West Virginia Attorney General
Lindsay See is currently the Solicitor General for West Virginia, where she manages appellate and high-stakes litigation for the State of West Virginia in both state and federal courts. Her work also focuses on regulatory and administrative law issues, as well as leading and working with multi-state coalitions on a variety of national issues. Before moving to West Virginia, Lindsay clerked for the Hon. Thomas B. Griffith on the D.C. circuit, then spent several years practicing appellate and administrative law with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in Washington, D.C.
Chief of Appeals, Manhattan District Attorney’s Office; Former Deputy Solicitor General, New York Attorney General
Steven C. Wu is Chief of Appeals at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. Previously, he served as Deputy Solicitor General in the New York State Office of the Attorney General. He joined the office in 2008 and previously served as an Assistant Solicitor General and as Special Counsel to the Solicitor General. Before joining the Attorney General’s Office, he was an associate in the Supreme Court and Appellate Practice of the law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in Washington, D.C., and a law clerk to Judge Diana Gribbon Motz on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School. As Deputy Solicitor General, Steven’s practice focused on appellate litigation in both federal and state courts. He regularly appeared in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the New York Court of Appeals (the highest court in New York), and has also argued in the U.S. Supreme Court, the D.C. Circuit, the First Circuit, and the Fourth Circuit.
Director of Strategic Legal Advocacy, Earthjustice
In her role at Earthjustice, Kirti leads efforts to anticipate and shape trends in judicial doctrine outside the environmental arena. This includes legal doctrines affecting justiciability, jurisdiction, the scope of federal power, and judicial review of agency actions. Immediately prior to joining Earthjustice, Kirti worked in the Supreme Court and Appellate practice group at Hogan Lovells US LLP. There, she briefed and argued appeals before federal circuit courts and substantive motions before federal district courts. She also briefed cases before the Supreme Court of the United States. Earlier in her career, Kirti served as an attorney-adviser in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel, where her work focused on federal environmental and land statutes. There, she reviewed the legality of presidential orders; advised federal agencies on major questions of constitutional, statutory, and administrative law; and examined pending legislation for constitutional issues. Kirti has served as a law clerk at all levels of the federal judiciary: for Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor of the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and Judge Amul R. Thapar, then of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky (now of the Sixth Circuit). She received her B.A. in environmental engineering from Rice University and her law degree from the NYU School of Law.
This event has been approved for one New York State CLE credit in the category of Areas of Professional Practice. The credit is both transitional and non-transitional; it is appropriate for both experienced and newly admitted attorneys.
Out-of-state CLE: NYU School of Law is an accredited provider of CLE in New York State. If you are seeking CLE credit for a different state, we recommend you consult with your state’s CLE Board to ascertain regulations on reciprocity.
Supreme Court Cases
2021 Term - Argued or Decided
- Mississippi v. Tennessee (decided 11/22/21)
- Holding: The waters of the Middle Claiborne Aquifer are subject to the judicial remedy of equitable apportionment; Mississippi’s complaint is dismissed without leave to amend.
- New York State Rifle & Postil Assn., Inc. v. Bruen (decided 6/23/22)
- Issue(s): Whether the state of New York’s denial of petitioners’ applications for concealed-carry licenses for self-defense violated the Second Amendment.
- U.S. v. Vaello Madero (decided 4/21/22)
- Holding: The Constitution does not require Congress to extend Supplemental Security Income benefits to residents of Puerto Rico.
- Biden v. Missouri (decided 1/13/22)
- Issue(s): (1) Whether 8 U.S.C. § 1225 requires the Department of Homeland Security to continue implementing the Migrant Protection Protocols, a former policy under which certain noncitizens arriving at the southwest border were returned to Mexico during their immigration proceedings; and (2) whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit erred by concluding that the secretary of homeland security’s new decision terminating MPP had no legal effect.
- Arizona v. San Francisco, CA (dismissed 6/15/22)
- Issue(s): (1) Whether states with interests should be permitted to intervene to defend a rule when the United States ceases to defend.
- West Virginia v. EPA (decided 6/30/22)
- Issue(s): Whether, in 42 U.S.C. § 7411(d), an ancillary provision of the Clean Air Act, Congress constitutionally authorized the Environmental Protection Agency to issue significant rules — including those capable of reshaping the nation’s electricity grids and unilaterally decarbonizing virtually any sector of the economy — without any limits on what the agency can require so long as it considers cost, nonair impacts and energy requirements.
- Torres v. Texas Department of Public Safety (decided 6/29/22)
- Issue(s): Whether Congress has the power to authorize suits against nonconsenting states pursuant to its constitutional war powers.
- Viking River Cruises, Inc. (decided 6/15/22)
- Issue(s): Whether the Federal Arbitration Act requires enforcement of a bilateral arbitration agreement providing that an employee cannot raise representative claims, including under the California Private Attorneys General Act.
- Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta (decided 6/29/22)
- Issue(s): Whether a state has authority to prosecute non-Indians who commit crimes against Indians in Indian country.
2022 Term - Not yet set for argument
- Sackett v. EPA
- Issue(s): Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit set forth the proper test for determining whether wetlands are “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. § 1362(7).
- National Pork Producers Council v. Ross
- Issue(s): (1) Whether allegations that a state law has dramatic economic effects largely outside of the state and requires pervasive changes to an integrated nationwide industry state a violation of the dormant commerce clause, or whether the extraterritoriality principle described in the Supreme Court’s decisions is now a dead letter; and (2) whether such allegations, concerning a law that is based solely on preferences regarding out-of-state housing of farm animals, state a claim under Pike v. Bruce Church, Inc.
- Davis Noll, A Battle Over Major Questions Is Brewing in the High Court (2022)
- Davis Noll, With the ACE Rule Cert Grant, Where Is the Court Headed? (2022)