Media Not Sure What To Make Of Supreme Court EPA Rulings

Monday's Supreme Court ruling on the EPA's regulation of carbon emissions gave both the agency's supporters and opponents something to cheer about.
Posted at 12:20 AM, Jun 24, 2014

You'd be forgiven for being a little confused about the Supreme Court's ruling on the Environmental Protection Agency Monday. Because the nation's major news outlets definitely seemed confused. (Via Flickr / Ian Britton, United Nations)

"The Supreme Court essentially giving a big win for the Environmental Protection Agency." (Via CNBC)

"Delivering a setback to President Obama's ambitions for the Environmental Protection Agency." (Via Fox Business)

"The EPA received a partial win from the court." (Via Bloomberg)

"5-4 to limit an EPA regulation." (Via Fox News)

To be clear, they were all talking about the same ruling there. And it's not just cable news that was all over the map on this Monday.

For NPR, it was mostly a win for the EPA.

USA Today thought differently.

And The New York Times just sort of split the difference.

Because, really, this is the kind of ruling a little too complicated for just a headline. Essentially, the Supreme Court gave both the EPA and its critics something to be happy about.

The EPA wants to regulate 86 percent of U.S. carbon emissions. Monday, the Supreme Court said it can regulate 83 percent, leaving out businesses that would be regulated only for greenhouse gas emissions but not for other pollutants. (Via CBS)

Justices Antonin Scalia and John Roberts joined the court's liberal judges in this ruling, with Scalia writing in the opinion, "It bears mention that EPA is getting almost everything it wanted in this case." (Via U.S. Mission Geneva)

Environmental groups and the EPA itself were pleased, calling the ruling a win. (Via EPA)

But the Supreme Court also gave conservative opponents of the EPA something to latch on to. 

Because, while the EPA was actually refused very little, the court, "rejected, in harsh terms, the agency’s primary rationale for the regulations" — that it would interpret the Clean Air Act to expand regulatory powers. The justices said it couldn't do that. (Via The New York Times)

Which is why we got quotes like this on Fox Monday.

GREG ABBOTT: “The Supreme Court absolutely slapped down both the Obama administration and the EPA." (Via Fox News)

Again, the EPA can still regulate carbon emissions, even if the court hampered its ability to use the Clean Air Act to its advantage. Which is maybe why this is tough to chock up as a win — or a loss for either side.