What do environmental lawyers consider the most significant environmental cases? In 2001, Jim Salzman conducted a survey of the envlawprofs listserve for the "Most Excellent" environmental law cases in the field, tabulating the top cases for law profs and for practicing attorneys. Given the significant decisions over the eight years, we thought it would be useful to conduct the survey again, this time using a dedicated website and surveying both the envlawprofs listserve and members of the ABA's Section on Environment, Energy and Resources. We enjoyed a high level of participation, with over 440 responses from across the nation, from academics and practitioners alike.
Among the most interesting findings are: (1) not surprisingly, Chevron remains firmly in the Top Three cases; (2) more surprisingly, the relatively young Massachusetts v. EPA has vaulted to the top as the most significant case in the field; (3) most surprisingly, Rapanos scored in the Top Three in most categories of respondents and in the top four for almost all the categories; (4) TVA v. Hill , while still a favorite among academics, has faded from prominence among practitioners; and (5) some of the classic environmental law cases that scored high on the 2001 survey, such as Overton Park and Ethyl Corp., have fallen off the cliff. Our article discusses the findings in more detail and our musing explanations for the surprise results. In the interests of encouraging further research, we have placed the raw data and original survey on the website, http://www.law.duke.edu/fac/salzman/survey.
James Salzman & J.B. Ruhl, Who’s Number One? The Most Significant Cases in Environmental Law, 26 Environmental Forum 36-40 (2009)
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Environmental law, Surveys