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The Rule Of Five: Making Climate History at the Supreme Court

The Rule Of Five: Making Climate History at the Supreme Court

DATE: Thursday, February 24 2022
TIME: 12:15 pm - 1:15 pm MST
LOCATION: Virtual Event
COST: Free and open to the public
1 hour CLE (pending).

A Wallace Stegner Center Green Bag


Professor Lazarus will discuss his recent book, “The Rule of Five,” which tells the behind-the-scenes story of Massachusetts v. EPA, the most significant environmental law case ever decided by the United States. The Court’s ruling, establishing that EPA has authority to regulate greenhouse gases, was the result of outstanding advocacy, individual courage, luck, blunders, and the skilled handiwork of a bow-tied octogenarian Supreme Court Justice.




Richard Lazarus is the Howard J. and Katherine W. Aibel Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, where he teaches Environmental Law, Natural Resources Law, Supreme Court Advocacy, and Torts. Professor Lazarus 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, most recently for the prevailing respondent St. Croix County in Murr v. Wisconsin (2017).  Before joining the Harvard law faculty, he was the Justice William J. Brennan, Jr., Professor of Law at Georgetown University, where he founded the Georgetown Supreme Court Institute and served as its faculty director. The Institute prepares attorneys for Supreme Court oral argument in more than ninety percent of the cases.  Professor Lazarus writes broadly on topics relating to environmental law as well as on Supreme Court decision-making, focusing on both advocacy before and within the Court. In 2004, he published The Making of Environmental Law (University of Chicago Press) on the emergence and evolution of modern environmental law in the U.S. His most recent book, The Rule of Five: Making Climate History at the Supreme Court (Harvard University Press 2020) tells the inside story of the Supreme Court’s 2007 decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, the Court’s most famous environmental law case.  Professor Lazarus previously worked for the Solicitor General’s Office (1986-89), where he was Assistant to the Solicitor General. He served on the Biden Transition Team for the U.S. Department of Justice. 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.


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