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Breaking ranks: Justice Amy Coney Barrett defies Supreme Court conservatives to back environmental protections

Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett split from her conservative colleagues on a Thusday ruling against the Environmental Protection Agency, in a move that is becoming increasingly more common for the Donald Trump appointee.

Barrett joined liberal justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson in dissenting from the conservative majority’s decision to block an environmental rule that aimed to reduce air pollution across states.

She wrote in the dissenting opinion the court’s injunction on a provision of the Clean Air Act would allow upwind states to “significantly” contribute to ozone problems in downwind states for the next several years.

The clause, called the “Good Neighbor Provision” required certain states to curtail their atmospheric emissions that drift into downwind states.

But Justice Barrett also criticized her colleagues for taking too long to decide the case, which was brought to the court on their emergency docket in December – that docket is typically reserved for cases that require quick decisions.

“Our emergency docket requires us to evaluate quickly the merits of applications without the benefit of full briefing and reasoned lower court opinions… Given those limitations, we should proceed all the more cautiously in cases like this one with voluminous, technical records and thorny legal questions,” Barrett wrote.

The court’s 5-4 split may come across as a surprise since the conservative justices generally seem to align with one another. But Barrett has emerged as an outspoken voice among the conservative appointees in recent decisions.

In a case about trademark law that was unanimously decided, the liberal wing of the court joined Barrett’s concurring opinion where she complained that

Read more on independent.co.uk