Justice Scalia Wrote the Wrong Facts in His Dissent Yesterday

The Supreme Court had to quietly correct Justice Antonin Scalia's scathing dissent in an environmental case yesterday after critics pointed out he made a glaring factual error.

The holding was a win for the Environmental Protection Agency, which was defending its authority to enforce a Cross-State Air Pollution rule that would stop industrial "upwind" states like Texas from spreading air pollution downwind.

Justice Ginsburg penned the decision, which upheld the EPA rule in a 6-2 ruling. Scalia apparently took the "unusual step" of reading a summary of his dissenting opinion, blasting the EPA in a smarmy section called, "Plus ça Change: EPA's Continuing Quest for Cost-Benefit Authority."

In the opinion, Scalia took the EPA to task, claiming they had learned nothing after requesting a cost-benefit analysis in an earlier case.

But as law professors were quick to point out that, Scalia's dissent got the facts of the earlier case completely wrong (a case, it turns out, Scalia wrote the majority opinion for.)

Scalia generally relies on law clerks to write the first drafts of his opinions, so it's not clear who made the initial error. Earlier today, the court quietly pulled the dissent and replaced it with a toned-down, factually accurate version.

[image via AP]