U.S. Supreme Court - Greenhouse Gases and Cell Phone Data Searches

U.S. Supreme Court to hear arguments on the regulation of greenhouse gases and police searches of cell phone data.Regulation of greenhouse gases. On Monday, Feb. 24, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case challenging to the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases. In 2007, the Court held in Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 U.S. 497 (2007), that greenhouse gases constitute an “air pollutant” that the EPA can regulate under the Clean Air Act Following the 2007 decision, the EPA moved forward to regulate pollution from cars and trucks and subsequently expanded its reach to regulate pollution from stationary sources, such as power plants and factories.Some industry groups challenged the regulations in Federal Court on several grounds. The Supreme Court granted several petitions for review but has limited its review to the question of whether the agency “permissibly determined that its regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from new motor vehicles triggered permitting requirements under the Clean Air Act for stationary sources that emit greenhouses gases.” The industry groups argue the Clean Air Act provision regulating stationary sources does not apply to greenhouse gases. Cellphone searches. In April, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on the question of whether the police, can search cell phone data without a warrant after seizing the phone as part of a lawful arrest. First Circuit of Appeal decided that such a search violated the Fourth Amendment. United States v. Wurie, 728 F.3d 1 (1st Cir. Mass. 2013). The California Supreme Court reached the opposite conclusion in Riley v. California, 2013 BL 34220 (Cal. Ct. App. Feb. 8, 2013), relying on the search-incident-to-arrest exception, which has been used to allow the police to search items found in the possession of a validly arrested person. In the California case, the police found information and photos on Riley’s smartphone linking him to a gang-related shooting. In the First Circuit case, after the police found the defendant’s home address on the phone, they found guns, drugs, and cash in the home.