Judith Lewis Mernit

Judith Lewis Mernit is a Los Angeles-based writer on energy, the environment, economic justice, and public health. Her work has appeared in High Country NewsSierra Magazine, Yale Environment 360, Take Part, The Atlantic, and LA Weekly

Recent Articles

Can the EPA Roll Back California's Clean Air Standards?

The feds can regulate mileage, but the states can regulate smog.

(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Capital & Main is an award-winning publication that reports from California on economic, political and social issues. The American Prospect is co-publishing this piece. When officials within the Trump administration, on August 2, proposed scaling back Obama-era fuel-economy standards and revoking California’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from tailpipes, they were betting on the chance that courts can’t tell the difference between a law against gas guzzlers and one against carbon belchers. Low-mileage cars and low-emissions cars are often one and the same, they may have reasoned. If you’re requiring a car to emit less carbon dioxide, you’re also asking that it burn less fuel. That part might be mostly true, although there are emissions controls that have nothing to do with gas mileage. But from a legal standpoint, fuel economy and tailpipe emissions take distinctly different routes to regulation. Fuel-economy standards, known as the...

The Pro-Life Paradox

Why are anti-abortion legislators cutting essential funds for special-needs children? 

(Celia Johnson)
On April 12, Governor Jan Brewer signed a bill making Arizona the eighth state in the union to ban abortions beyond 20 weeks. Like most other laws of its kind, House Bill 2036 had been camouflaged as a measure against suffering, predicated on the notion that a fetus at 20 weeks can feel pain. Every woman who’s ever been pregnant, however, knows what the law really means: Twenty weeks marks a crucial point in a pregnancy, when fetal abnormalities can be detected, often for the first time. Many women confronted with a grim prenatal diagnosis choose to have an abortion. Now, in Arizona, they can’t. As the latest maneuver to undermine the protections of Roe v. Wade , the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion until at least 24 weeks, the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child” model has been gaining popularity. Nebraska was the first state to pass such a law in 2010; Idaho, Iowa, Alabama, Oklahoma, Indiana, and Kansas followed, as did Georgia in March (though...