LBB Presents ONLINE: Richard J. Lazarus - Rule of Five

Wednesday, July 22, 2020 - 7:00pm

Wednesday, July 22, 7pm CST
Left Bank Books' Facebook Page

Left Bank Books and KDHX Earthworms welcome law professor and author Richard J. Lazarus, who will discuss his new book, The Rule of Five: Making Climate History at the Supreme Court, on Facebook Live at 7pm CST on July 22. Lazarus will be in conversation with KDHX Earthworms' host Jean Ponzi. Join us on our Facebook Page and order a copy of The Rule of Five from Left Bank Books to support authors and independent bookstores!

The gripping inside story of how an unlikely team of lawyers and climate activists overcame conservative opposition--and their own divisions--to win the most important environmental case ever brought before the Supreme Court.

When the Supreme Court announced its ruling in Massachusetts v. EPA, the decision was immediately hailed as a landmark. But this was the farthest thing from anyone's mind when Joe Mendelson, an idealistic lawyer working on a shoestring budget for an environmental organization no one had heard of, decided to press his quixotic case.

In October 1999, Mendelson hand-delivered a petition to the Environmental Protection Agency asking it to restrict greenhouse gas emissions from new cars. The Clean Air Act had authorized the EPA to regulate "any air pollutant" that could reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health. But could something as ordinary as carbon dioxide really be considered a harmful pollutant? And even if the EPA had the authority to regulate emissions, could it be forced to do so?

Environmentalists urged Mendelson to stand down. Thinking of his young daughters and determined to fight climate change, he pressed on--and brought Sierra Club, Greenpeace, NRDC, and twelve state attorneys general led by Massachusetts to his side. This unlikely group--they called themselves the Carbon Dioxide Warriors--challenged the Bush administration and took the EPA to court.

The Rule of Five tells the story of their unexpected triumph. We see how accidents, infighting, luck, superb lawyering, and the arcane practices of the Supreme Court collided to produce a legal miracle. An acclaimed advocate, Richard Lazarus reveals the personal dynamics of the justices and dramatizes the workings of the Court. The final ruling, by a razor-thin 5-4 margin, made possible important environmental safeguards which the Trump administration now seeks to unravel.

"The gripping story of the most important environmental law case ever decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Richard Lazarus's compelling narrative is enlivened by colorful characters, a canny dissection of courtroom strategy, and a case where the stakes are, literally, as big as the world." --Scott Turow, author of Presumed Innocent

"There's no better book if you want to understand the past, present, and future of environmental litigation." --Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction

Richard J. Lazarus is the Howard J. and Katherine W. Aibel Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He has represented the United States, state and local governments, and environmental groups in the United States Supreme Court in more than 40 cases and has presented oral argument in 14 of those cases. Professor Lazarus writes broadly on topics relating to Supreme Court decision-making, focusing on both advocacy before and within the Court, and on environmental law. He previously worked on the law faculty at Washington University in St. Louis and for the Solicitor General's Office (1986-89), where he was Assistant to the Solicitor General. He graduated from Harvard Law School in 1979 and has a B.S. from the University of Illinois in Chemistry and a B.A. in Economics.

Jean Ponzi has been an environmental advocate and resource person for the greater St. Louis community for over 30 years. As her volunteer community service, Jean produces and hosts the enviro-interview show Earthworms for KDHX St. Louis Independent Media. On her job as Green Resources Manager for the EarthWays Center of Missouri Botanical Garden, she coaches sustainable thinking and practice for businesses of all kinds through the St. Louis Green Business Challenge, and connects her fellow humans to nature as a Garden team leader of the regional initiative, BiodiverseCity St. Louis. Her column Earthworms Castings has been a local feature in The Healthy Planet Magazine since 1997. She has also written for, Missouri Resources, and professional magazines including The Designer, Home Energy, and the online environmental digest Grist.

All you need to do to participate is log in to your personal Facebook account, go to Left Bank Books' Facebook Page, "Like" the page, and wait for the livestream to begin on the page (you may need to refresh the page periodically until the stream begins).




Event address: 
Left Bank Books' Facebook page
The Rule of Five: Making Climate History at the Supreme Court By Richard J. Lazarus Cover Image
ISBN: 9780674238121
Availability: Special Order
Published: Belknap Press - March 10th, 2020