NEW! Winner of 2012-13 Constitutional Environmental Law Student Writing Competition chosen for paper on climate science misrepresentation. For more information, click here.
Lawyers in courtrooms across the nation are invoking the U.S. Constitution as a basis for weakening environmental laws. Once believed to be a dead letter, constitutional arguments that target the validity of environmental laws are picking up new momentum in the federal courts and enjoying increased popularity among conservative legal scholars. The battle over the constitutionality of environmental law has again been joined.
Unfortunately, the voice of the average citizen is rarely heard on the constitutionality of environmental protection—even as public debate rages on other constitutional issues of the day, and despite the fact that nearly half of Americans say that environmental quality in the country as a whole is worsening (Gallup Poll on Environment, Mar. 2010).
The Endangered Environmental Laws Program (an initiative of the Environmental Law Institute) is intended to spark, inform, and help to sustain a much-needed public debate on the constitutional legitimacy of environmental protections. The Program is premised on the view that the text and history of the Constitution, as interpreted by the courts and understood by most Americans, do provide a strong legal basis for comprehensive and effective environmental laws.
This website helps to fill the information gap by summarizing and analyzing important cases; directing visitors to current reports, opinion pieces, and public events; providing media resources; encouraging engagement by law students; and serving as a portal on matters of constitutional environmental law by linking to other key organizations, programs, and publications.