A lawsuit filed by McCutcheon against Federal Election Commission, and supported by Republican National Party, found its way to the US Supreme Court. The Court held that that the overall limits for contributions from individuals to candidates and political parties was against freedom of expression and therefore, unconstitutional. The Court, however, did not disturb base limits of $2,600 per election. The Court had never before had struck down a federal contribution limit.
On Affirmative Action, Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action
A lawsuit filed by the Coalition against a State of Michigan referendum on affirmative action was defended by Schuette, the attorney general of the State of Michigan, and Eric Russell (an applicant to University of Michigan Law School) who was later removed as Russell’s interests were the same as the attorney-general’s. The arguments by the Coalition did not find resonance with the Court. The Court upheld that Michigan voter initiative that banned taking account of race in admission to the state's public universities. The Court argued that the electorate had the right to make such decisions. However, as recently as in 2013, the Court had said race-conscious admissions are sometimes constitutionally permissible, though under increasingly exacting standards. The new decision has essentially held that such practice is not constitutionally required.
On Greenhouse Gases and Power to Regulate, Utility Air v. Environmental Protect Agency (E.P.A.)
Utility Air filed a lawsuit against EPA’s strict emission standards. After dispositions in the lower courts, the US Supreme Court decided to review the matter. In its decision, the Court largely upheld the E.P.A's authority to regulate greenhouse gases from stationary sources like power plants under two permitting programs. This holding is consistent with the Court’s ruling in 2007 requiring regulation of greenhouse gases if it found that they endangered public health.
Overall, in its recent rulings the Court has taken a more conservative posture with regard to campaign financing and affirmative action in public universities but adopted a more liberal posture with regard to regulation of greenhouse gases.