James W. Coleman

Professor of Law

Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law

James W. Coleman

Professor of Law

Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law

James W. Coleman is a Professor of Law at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law.

James received two degrees from Harvard University — a J.D. (cum laude) and B.A. in biology (magna cum laude with highest honors in the field). Upon graduation from law school he served as clerk for Eighth Circuit Judge Steve Colloton, and then practiced energy, environmental, and appellate law as an associate in the Washington, D.C., firm of Sidley Austin LLP for three years.

Prior to joining SMU, he was on the faculty at the University of Calgary, where he taught at both the law school and the business school. Before Calgary, he served on the faculty at Harvard Law School as a Climenko Fellow and Lecturer on Law.

Coleman’s scholarship addresses regulation of North American energy companies, focusing on how countries account for and influence regulation of fuel and electricity in their trading partners and how global energy companies respond to competing pressures from investors and regulators in multiple jurisdictions. He publishes the Energy Law Professor blog and you can follow him on Twitter at @energylawprof.

Contributions

Deep Dive Episode 184 – Federalism or a Federal Standard? Fuel Economy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards

June 28, 2021

An expert panel discusses the ongoing debates over whether federal agencies should enforce a national standard for automobile fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions.

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Explainer Episode 23 – Why Did Texas Lose Power?

February 19, 2021

Professor James W. Coleman joins the podcast to break down the regulatory dynamics of the rolling blackouts Texans have experienced this week.

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Deep Dive Episode 138 – It Can Be Done Live: The Future of Our Earth

October 15, 2020

An expert panel explores the potential of human ingenuity to solve the problems facing our earth and the conditions necessary to make those solutions a reality.

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It Can Be Done Live: The Future of Our Earth

October 15, 2020

The creators of the award-winning documentary, They Say It Can’t Be Done, in partnership with the Federalist Society’s Regulatory Transparency Project, present It Can Be Done Live – a conversation between entrepreneurs, regulatory experts, and noted academics around creative and bipartisan solutions to global challenges to our shared future. The third of four panel events, It Can Be Done Live: The Future of Our Earth, took place on September 24th, 2020.

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Deep Dive Episode 128 – Can States Trump Interstate Commerce?

August 27, 2020

Experts explore state laws and regulations that expand states’ reach into national and international affairs, and go on to discuss different interpretations of the Constitution regarding the role of the judiciary in evaluating such laws.

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Deep Dive Episode 93 – The Future of the National Environmental Policy Act

March 9, 2020

In this episode, Professors David Adelman and James Coleman discuss the recently proposed changes to the NEPA process and examine the potential effects.

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Does Federal Permitting Under the National Environmental Policy Act Need Reform?

March 5, 2020

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) was designed to regulate federal infrastructure projects to minimize harmful environmental impact. Over time, the review process has become lengthy and costly. This process has delayed or condemned needed construction of roads, pipelines, and power lines.

In this video, Professor James Coleman discusses possible benefits of NEPA reform, while explaining why the issue is hotly debated. He proposes a new way of formulating the question that could be discussed without resorting to partisanship.

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Deep Dive Episode 92 – The Constitutionality of California’s Cap and Trade Agreement with Quebec

March 4, 2020

In this episode, James Coleman and Sharmila Murthy discuss the constitutionality of California’s cap and trade agreement with Quebec.

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Welcome to the New “Explainer Podcast”

James W. Coleman

December 10, 2019

American governments are facing several growing problems – such as how to address climate change despite rising carbon emissions, how to preserve privacy despite the spread of new technology, and how to ensure affordable housing despite rising housing costs.

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Climate and the Courts: Juliana Oral Arguments

James W. Coleman

August 27, 2019

How much can the federal courts do on a climate change? If you want more climate regulation than Congress is willing to provide, it’s an urgent question. The most recent and most ambitious climate lawsuit is Juliana v. United States, a lawsuit by children asking the courts to order the government to aggressively regulate carbon emissions. These plaintiffs argue that they have unwritten constitutional and federal common law rights to a stable climate and that the government must uphold these rights by imposing limits on private carbon emissions. The Ninth Circuit recently heard their argument and its upcoming decision will help define the outer boundaries of what the courts can do on climate change.

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Explainer Episode 1 – The Green New Deal

August 22, 2019

In this inaugural episode of the Regulatory Transparency Project’s Explainer podcast series, James Coleman and Ann Carlson discuss the merits and implications of the Green New Deal.

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The Jones Act: Debating the Lingering Effects of a 100-Year-Old Law

July 2, 2019

Passed into law in 1920, the Jones Act is a ban on transport between two U.S. ports, unless it’s on a U.S.-built, U.S.-manned, U.S. flagged, and U.S.-owned ship. The Jones Act was designed to protect the United States’ shipbuilding industry and to ensure that U.S. waters and ports are safe and secure. Some argue, however, that in the context of the modern shipping economy the Jones Act does little to protect national security and, instead, raises prices on U.S. consumers and businesses.

In this Fourth Branch video, James Coleman (Dedman School of Law) and George Landrith (Frontiers of Freedom Institute) discuss the Jones Act’s history, debate its impact on American society today, and explore whether the Jones Act should be updated for today’s economic and national security needs.

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Why Environmental Reviews Take So Long… And How We Can Speed Them Up

James W. Coleman

October 18, 2018

On January 1, 1970, President Nixon signed the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) into law. The law requires that the government issue a report—known as an environmental impact statement—before taking major federal actions that significantly impact the environment. NEPA is not a substantive environmental standard; the government can approve a harmful project. It is merely procedural, reflecting the sensible adage “look before you leap.”

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Time to Reform the Jones Act?

February 26, 2018

Section 27 of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, colloquially known as the Jones Act, requires that shipments between two U.S. ports be on U.S.-built, U.S.-manned, and U.S.-owned vessels. Because of the Jones Act, it is often more expensive to ship supplies between U.S. ports than it is to ship supplies abroad. The Act was adopted in 1920 to support naval preparedness by boosting the U.S. shipbuilding industry.

But is it time to scale back the Jones Act? The U.S. energy export boom is leaving U.S. consumers behind because it is cheaper to ship oil and liquefied natural gas all the way to Europe or Asia than to the U.S. East Coast. And the Jones Act, long a drag on Puerto Rico’s economy, is also raising the cost of all the aid necessary to help the island recover from Hurricane Maria. This expert panel explores the Jones Act controversy and discusses whether it can be reformed without endangering national security.

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