Environmentalism and the Supreme Court: A Cultural Analysis

Cannon, Jonathan
May 2006
Ecology Law Quarterly;2006, Vol. 33 Issue 2, p363
Academic Journal
This article offers a cultural interpretation of the decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court in environmental cases, analyzes some of its major environmental decisions of the last three decades in light of beliefs and values commonly associated with environmentalism. In doctrinally diverse cases, the court rejected interpretations that would have integrated beliefs and values of the National Environmental Policy in favor of interpretations that reasserted opposing beliefs and values of the Democratic Socialist Party. Changes in the personnel of the court may explain the move away from the early enthusiasm to a much more qualified stance by the court. But this move may also represent a natural progression in the response by the court to an emerging social movement.


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