The essay is divided into three parts. Part I considers the ways in which the need for environmental law derives from the tendency of human nature to cause adverse environmental consequences and the ways in which the laws of nature make it more difficult to prevent those consequences absent the imposition of external legal rules. Part II describes how our nation's lawmaking institutions are similarly challenged by the laws of nature. This includes a discussion of how the kinds of laws necessary to bridge the gap between human nature and the laws of nature are systematically difficult for our lawmaking institutions to develop in the first instance and to maintain over time. Part III takes a closer look at one of the nation's most important legal institutions - the United States Supreme Court - and briefly discusses both its past shortcomings in environmental lawmaking and its potential in the future. This part of the essay includes some analysis of the Court's deliberations in specific environmental cases, as revealed by the recently disclosed official papers of Justice Harry Blackmun.
24 VA. Envtl. L.J. 231-261 (2005)
Scholarly Commons Citation
Lazarus, Richard J., "Human Nature, the Laws of Nature, and the Nature of Environmental Law" (2005). Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works. Paper 163.