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Posts Tagged ‘U.S. Supreme Court’
July 6th, 2015 at 11:34 am
Do “Agency Shop” Rules Violate the First Amendment?
Posted by Ben Boychuk Print

The last couple of weeks have delivered huge news from the U.S. Supreme Court on contentious questions ranging from the definitions of “state,” “marriage,” “legislature,” “jiggery pokery,” and “cruel and unusual punishment,” to the scope of the EPA’s power to regulate emissions from coal plants and the use of a “disparate impact” standard in housing discrimination cases.

But one of the biggest pieces of SCOTUS news emerging from the term’s final hours was the court’s decision to take a case out of California that could severely curtail the political power of America’s teachers unions.

Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association seeks to overturn the court’s 1977 decision in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, which upheld public-sector “union shop” rules and maintained that unions could charge non-members for collective bargaining activities. The Friedrichs plaintiffs argue that the rule requiring public employees to opt out of contributing a portion of their dues to union political activity — as opposed to allowing them to opt in — violates their First Amendment rights.

If Rebecca Friedrichs and her colleagues prevail, public-sector union membership would no longer be compulsory.

The Cato Institute’s Jason Bedrick points out, “Federal law allows dues-payers to opt out of the portion dedicated to express political activities (e.g. – lobbying), but the petitioners argue that public-sector collective bargaining itself is inherently political.”

Cato also filed an amicus brief in the case, which makes a powerful point:

[W]hen it comes to public-sector unions, it is somewhat bizarre to say that some of the spending is “political” and some isn’t. A teachers union may run political ads advocating for particular public policy positions, but it also collectively bargains in order to fight for similarly “political” gains, such as class size, school year length, and teacher qualifications. In a sense, a teachers union is just another political party that lobbies the government for preferred policies, and, whether it is spending on political ads or collectively bargaining, both are “political.”

The National Education Association and its California affiliate are not pleased with this news. The unions on Monday issued a joint statement with the American Federation of Teachers, the Service Employees International Union, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, decrying the court’s decision to take the case:

We are disappointed that at a time when big corporations and the wealthy few are rewriting the rules in their favor, knocking American families and our entire economy off-balance, the Supreme Court has chosen to take a case that threatens the fundamental promise of America—that if you work hard and play by the rules you should be able to provide for your family and live a decent life.

The Supreme Court is revisiting decisions that have made it possible for people to stick together for a voice at work and in their communities—decisions that have stood for more than 35 years—and that have allowed people to work together for better public services and vibrant communities.

The fundamental promise of America says nothing about compelling workers to join a union or pay for a union’s political agenda. And although the Abood decision is nearly 40 years old, the First Amendment is quite a bit older.

The unions are right to worry and it’s no wonder they’re trying to change the subject. As Larry Sand reported at City Journal California last year:

If the Supreme Court overturns Abood, it would change the political landscape drastically. When Wisconsin’s Act 10 made teacher union membership voluntary, the unions in that state lost about one-third of their membership and a substantial amount of clout. If the same percentage of teachers quit the California Teachers Association, the union would lose approximately $62 million a year in dues. Considering the teachers’ union spent more than $290 million on candidates, ballot measures, and lobbying between 2000 and 2013—by far the most of any political player in the Golden State—such a loss would be crushing. And it’s no secret that CTA spending moves almost exclusively in a leftward direction. Between 2003 and 2012, the union gave $15.7 million to Democratic candidates and just $92,700 to Republicans—a ratio of roughly 99 to one. CTA has also spent millions promoting controversial causes such as same-sex marriage and single-payer healthcare, while opposing voter ID laws and limitations of the government’s power of eminent domain.

But a Supreme Court decision wouldn’t be limited to California, of course. As Sand pointed out, “The National Education Association, which hauled in nearly $363 million in forced dues in 2013–2014 and spent about $132 million of it on issue advocacy, would have to curtail its political largess considerably.”

The court in 2013 seemed to lay the groundwork for doing away with Abood in Harris v. Quinn, which held that home healthcare workers couldn’t be forced to pay agency shop fees to the SEIU. Justice Samuel Alito writing for the court made a distinction between the home workers and “full-fledged” public employees. But he suggested in the ruling that there also may be a distinction to be made between private-sector union collective bargaining and public-sector union collective bargaining.

“Collective bargaining concerns the union’s dealings with the employer; political advocacy and lobbying are directed at the government,” Alito wrote. “But in the public sector, both collective bargaining and political advocacy and lobbying are directed at the government.” By that logic, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to make mandatory fees voluntary in California and 25 other states where union-shop rules prevail.

The Court returns the first Monday in October. In the meantime, you can read the petitioners’ and respondents’ briefs here and here and here.

July 6th, 2015 at 9:40 am
Your Weekly Mencken: Judicial Usurpation Edition
Posted by Ben Boychuk Print

H.L. Mencken (1880-1956) was arguably the greatest American polemicist of the 20th century. He was a newspaperman, a magazine editor, critic, satirist, “extreme libertarian,” “Tory anarchist,” scourge of the booboisie, and amateur linguist. He could wield the English language like a goedendag or a stiletto. When current events get to be too much, a shot of Mencken helps clear the head and soothe the anxious soul. So in order to ease some of the heartburn many of us have experienced in the final days of the Supreme Court’s 2014–15 term, here is a bit of the Sage of Baltimore to put things in perspective:

The theory that there is something sacred about law is always propagated very diligently by gentlemen thirsty for power, and it has never been propagated so diligently as it is by such persons in the United States today. They erect upon it a cult that takes on a passionate and even mystical character. The thing that we must grovel to, so they teach, is not this law or that law, but law in general, all law. But it takes no great acuity to see that what they are really arguing for, whatever their pretensions otherwise, is some law that they are especially interested in. They care nothing, in truth, for law in general.

 (American Mercury, December 1929)

June 22nd, 2015 at 7:56 am
Video: The Wisdom of Justice Obama
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

CFIF’s Renee Giachino discusses how President Obama’s rhetoric regarding ObamaCare and the challenge currently before the Supreme Court to the law’s subsidies is both unseemly and not presidential.

May 26th, 2015 at 8:25 pm
Fifth Circuit Maintains Roadblock to Obama Immigration Amnesty

Today the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to lift an injunction prohibiting the Obama administration from implementing an executive amnesty program for millions of illegal immigrants.

Ken Paxton, the Attorney General of Texas who is leading a 26 state lawsuit against President Barack Obama’s amnesty order, applauded the court for stopping “a drastic change in immigration policy” since the program bypassed congressional approval. Texas is alleging significant financial burdens on state taxpayers if the federal government is allowed to proceed.

The Obama administration is now considering whether to appeal the Fifth Circuit’s opinion to the U.S. Supreme Court, a move which could backfire and derail a policy goal long sought by immigration activists.

This much we know: the rule of law has been preserved, at least for today.

H/T: New York Times

April 23rd, 2015 at 3:19 pm
Obama Admin Also Pressuring Kansas, Tennessee to Expand Medicaid or Lose Funds

First Florida, then Texas, and now Kansas and Tennessee have been told by the Obama administration that unless they expand Medicaid under the rules laid out in ObamaCare the federal government will withhold payments from local hospitals.

Florida’s Republican Governor Rick Scott is so angry at the move he’s promised to sue the Obama administration for violating a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling prohibiting the feds from conditioning Medicaid funding on ObamaCare expansion.

Yet this is precisely what the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is doing. According to Kaiser Health News, CMS “confirmed Tuesday that it gave officials in [Kansas and Tennessee] the same message that had been delivered to Texas and Florida about the risk to funding for so-called ‘uncompensated care pools’ – Medicaid money that helps pay the cost of care for the uninsured.”

“Medicaid expansion would reduce uncompensated care in the state, and therefore have an impact on the [Low-Income Pool], which is why the state’s expansion status is an important consideration in our approach regarding extending the LIP beyond June,” a CMS official warned.

The reason states have resisted expanding Medicaid under ObamaCare is that it transforms a program currently helping discrete populations – e.g. pregnant women, the disabled, elderly, blind, and children from needy families – into a universal, taxpayer-funded health insurance program for every person earning less than 133 percent of the federal poverty level. That change translates into large amounts of new spending that will eventually lead to increased state taxes.

By making a state’s refusal to expand Medicaid a factor in deciding whether Medicaid dollars will continue to flow, the Obama administration is directly flouting a prohibition handed down by a 7-2 Supreme Court majority (liberal Justices Kagan and Breyer sided with their five more conservative colleagues). If the Supreme Court wants to ensure that its rulings will be taken seriously, it should fast-track Florida’s lawsuit and let the Obama administration know it must follow the law.

April 22nd, 2015 at 5:57 pm
What Will Republicans Do If Supreme Court Strikes Down ObamaCare Subsidies?

Sometime in June, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to publish its opinion deciding whether the Obama administration acted outside the law in extending federal subsidies to citizens in states without a local ObamaCare exchange.

If the Court’s ruling adheres to the rule of law, the subsidies will be disallowed. Predictably, this is making some Republicans nervous that Americans getting the ObamaCare the Democrats passed will blame the GOP.

And so, there are a growing number of proposals to overrule the Court, at least until 2017 when (hopefully) a Republican president will be in office.

The latest plan in this line of thinking was unveiled Tuesday by U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI). “Johnson’s plan would allow people to keep their ObamaCare plans and their subsidies until August 2017,” reports The Hill. “The bill would also repeal ObamaCare’s mandates for individuals and employers to provide insurance…”

Of the proposals currently available, Johnson’s is the only one that makes no change to ObamaCare as it currently is. All it does is ensure the program lasts until about eight months into the next president’s first year in office.

The question is: What’s the point? If Johnson’s bill were to become law, it would put large numbers of Republicans on record as saying that despite the plain meaning of the statute, ObamaCare’s subsidy scheme is simply too important to be governed by normal legal rules. If that’s true, then why not make things easier and introduce a bill that just amends the disputed section and grant subsidies to everyone?

If Senator Johnson and other Republicans are fearful of voter backlash, then he and others should propose specific policy alternatives. Overruling the Supreme Court for making the correct legal decision is not justified by political calculations of what might happen at the ballot box.

Voters deserve statesmen, not politicians that hedge their bets. If Senator Johnson wants to be reelected next year, he needs to earn the privilege by either embracing ObamaCare for the long-term or putting forward a specific alternative.

March 13th, 2015 at 8:42 am
Third Time’s a Charm to Strike Legal Blow to ObamaCare?
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

In an interview with CFIF, Sally Pipes, President, CEO and Taube Fellow in Health Care Studies at the Pacific Research Institute, discusses oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in the King v. Burwell case, the damaging effects of ObamaCare, and what state lawmakers and members of Congress should be doing now to prepare for a potential ruling that derails the Affordable Care Act.

Listen to the interview here.

March 10th, 2015 at 5:33 pm
Lessons from Britain in Repealing ObamaCare

Daniel Hannan, a British conservative serving in the European Parliament, warns Americans about the danger of propping up ObamaCare long enough for it to get entrenched in everyday life.

“ObamaCare isn’t a precise copy of the British health system. But there is one parallel on which its exponents are relying, namely the conflation of their healthcare model with the people who work in it,” writes Hannan. “The chairman of the body in charge of overseeing care quality in Britain recently put his finger on the problem: ‘The NHS became too powerful to criticize. When things were going wrong, people didn’t say anything. If you criticized the NHS – the attitude was how dare you?’”

Something similar seems to be happening now. Some states are getting ready to install ObamaCare exchanges if the Supreme Court strikes down the IRS subsidies as unlawfully distributed to people using the federal Healthcare.gov website.

Others are suggesting the creation of an “off-ramp” from ObamaCare that would keep the subsidies flowing until the 2016 presidential election, but would also extend the health law’s life span.

These kinds of half-measures do nothing to help move health reform in a more sustainable, market-oriented direction. All they do is put a bipartisan face on ObamaCare, albeit in an altered form.

Part of what makes repealing ObamaCare a realistic option is the steadfast resistance from state and federal Republicans in implementing it. If even a significant minority of GOP leaders start to go along with saving ObamaCare – in whatever form – then the United States runs the risk that Hannan in Britain knows all too well.

Socialized medicine will be here to stay.

March 10th, 2015 at 2:49 pm
States Should Resist Push to Start Exchanges, Save ObamaCare

If the U.S. Supreme Court (correctly) interprets the health care law as disallowing insurance subsidies for citizens using the federal Healthcare.gov website, some states are preparing to fast-track the process for creating their own ObamaCare exchanges.

That process won’t be easy.

“The first step would be enactment of a law authorizing a state agency, nonprofit or public-private entity to run the exchange. Next, the state would have to build or acquire a website to enroll residents, take over contracts with insurance carriers, develop a consumer assistance program and create a bureaucracy to operate the exchange,” says a summary published by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Nor will it be cheap. States that opted to build their own exchanges had almost three years to get them up-and-running, and there were still a number of expensive failures. Trying to accelerate the process into a matter of months will only invite more wasted taxpayer money.

States that refused to sink money into an ObamaCare exchange were right to resist adding another layer to their health care bureaucracies. Citizens don’t need another government program with costly administrators. We need a simplified system of health care delivery that frees up more money for treatment and prevention.

January 7th, 2015 at 11:58 am
Gun Control Lobby Takes Aim at the States

After misfiring in Congress, the gun control lobby is taking aim at states that allow voter-initiated ballot measures to enact tougher restrictions.

In the process, those in charge are also changing their name to the “gun safety” movement.

The policy preferences, however, remain the same.

“After a victory in November on a Washington State ballot measure that will require broader background checks on gun buyers, groups that promote gun regulations have turned away from Washington and the political races that have been largely futile,” reports the New York Times. “Instead, they are turning their attention – and their growing wallets – to other states that allow ballot measures.”

States in the crosshairs include Nevada, Arizona, Maine and Oregon. Others are sure to follow.

Conservatives should be cautiously optimistic about this move. While the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed that the Second Amendment’s guarantee of a citizen’s right to “keep and bear arms” applies to the states (McDonald v. Chicago), the extent of that right is up to states and localities to decide. This is federalism. Local communities are in the best position to determine which regulations best serve the interests of residents.

But federalism as the Founders understood it assumes deliberation in the republican sense – i.e. policy choices are made by the people’s elected representatives, not by direct democracy via a statewide ballot initiative. The point of sifting public opinion through elected representation is to strip away passions and get down to first principles. Busy citizens don’t have the time or the staff carefully to review proposals that set the standards for civic life. Better to resource an elected representative with time and personnel, and then hold him accountable for the votes he casts.

Herein lies the reason to be cautious. Being thoughtful about big policy changes isn’t usually achieved in the context of a media-heavy campaign blitz dominated by 30-second ads. But this limitation is no reason for constitutional conservatives to sit on the sidelines. Removing social policy issues like gun control to the state level reduces the expense of advocacy while at the same time making the appeals more personal. If this trend continues, conservatives will need to build on their successes in other issue domains to defend traditional American values in the arenas that are available.

Though it would be better to locate policy debates within the institutions that are best equipped to handle them, if liberals want to make a direct appeal to the public, conservatives will be ready and waiting to respond.

November 14th, 2014 at 11:56 am
SCOTUS Should Accept Golden Opportunity to Constrain Abusive Plaintiffs’ Lawyers

The 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is by now a fading memory for most Americans.  The U.S. Supreme Court, however, will soon decide whether to hear a case stemming from the spill that could, at long last, restrain abusive trial lawyers who game our legal system.

The case involves BP, which immediately accepted responsibility for the spill and asked attorney Kenneth Feinberg to handle claims on a rapid and completely independent basis. Ultimately, Feinberg ordered more than 200,000 payments totaling $6 billion over 16 months.

The problem at issue arose when opportunistic plaintiffs’ lawyers decided that they weren’t receiving their customary windfall.  Consequently, they rushed to court and demanded a class-action settlement, which a federal district court in Louisiana granted.

Then the court appointed a well-connected local Louisiana lawyer to administer claims for what are broadly categorized as “business economic losses.” For example, a restaurant owner on the coast could demonstrate damages by comparing pre-spill revenues and profits versus post-spill revenues and profits. Victims who could establish a decline in revenues and confirm a causal connection between the losses and the spill itself, were entitled to payment.

Unfortunately, the claims administrator also steered vast sums toward businesses whose losses clearly had nothing to do with the spill. BP’s lawyers cite 64 representative examples of such abuse in their writ to the Supreme Court, including:

  • A real estate rental company that leased properties to two Saturn dealerships, which both went out of business because GM stopped making Saturns in 2009, put in a claim and received $238,000.
  • A group of emergency room physicians received $2.3 million after claiming that revenues dropped sharply, but that decline resulted not from the spill, but from a one-time earnings adjustment to accounts receivable over a period of five years.

BP appealed the awards to the Fifth Circuit, but lost in a sharply-split decision. Judge Edith Clement, a highly-respected appellate judge appointed by President George W. Bush, minced no words in her dissent.  She warned that the judiciary itself was becoming a “party to the fraud” against BP

Citing Judge Clement, Cardozo School of Law professor Lester Brinkman, a premier authority in the academic study of plaintiffs’ lawyers, wrote, “Make no mistake; fraud it is.  The settlement agreement entered into by BP to provide compensation to those that suffered loss from the spill, states that in order to be eligible for compensation, claimants must affirm under penalty of perjury, that they suffered ‘damages arising from’ the Deep Water Horizon incident.  But the Louisiana legal system has obliterated these words from the agreement.”

So why should informed citizens care? After all, BP admitted to doing great damage to the Gulf of Mexico.

We should care because if the abusive and greedy plaintiffs’ lawyers triumph in this case, few restraints will remain. If ever there was an example of discarding the rule of law in favor of enriching a politically-powerful group, this case is it.

At issue in this case is a straightforward proposition. Namely, a class-action settlement is grossly inappropriate where large numbers of that supposed class have even not suffered harm. That seems elementary

Unfortunately, different federal courts of appeal have ruled inconsistently in similar cases. That inconsistency alone constitutes one reason the Supreme Court could and should accept the case. Another reason is the important and fundamental legal issue at stake: people who haven’t suffered actual harm should not receive unjustified windfall damages.

Whatever one thinks of BP, the case now before the Supreme Court is a critical one, and its legal position is the correct one. Accordingly, the Justices should take the important step of granting cert.

October 17th, 2014 at 6:41 pm
SCOTUS 2014: Cases to Watch
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

In an interview with CFIF, Megan L. Brown, partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Wiley Rein LLP, discusses the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2014 term, the “hot” cases currently on the docket and what issues might come before the Court later in the term.

Listen to the interview here.

June 23rd, 2014 at 8:29 am
Supreme Court Winding Up Current Term
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

In an interview with CFIF, Megan Brown, a partner in Wiley Rein’s Litigation, Appellate and Communications practice, reviews several recent Supreme Court decisions and cases, including Greece v Galloway (town prayer) and McCullen v. Coakley (”buffer zones”), some First Amendment cases presently before the DC Circuit, and a percolating and timely establishment clause case in the Second Circuit over the World Trade center cross.

Listen to the interview here.

April 24th, 2014 at 8:58 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Color Blind
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

December 2nd, 2013 at 6:11 pm
Supreme Court Could Defund Obamacare

Federal subsidies are the lynchpin holding Obamacare together. Without them, insurance plans bought on state-run exchanges would be too expensive for most people to buy.

Which means there’s a huge gaping problem if you live in one of the 36 states that chose to let the feds run the exchange: You don’t qualify for federal subsidies.

“Congress was exceedingly clear that tax credits and subsidies are available to people whose plans ‘were enrolled in through an exchange established by the State under section 1311 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,’” argues Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma’s Attorney General, in the Wall Street Journal.

“Congress specified that credits and subsidies are only to be available in states that set up their own health-insurance exchange for a reason: It could not force states to set up exchanges. Instead, it had to entice them to do so.”

But if the enticement fails, then citizens are exposed to the full brunt of Obamacare’s increased cost structure for health insurance. That’s the risk the health law’s drafters took. Now the plain meaning of the text should result in a massively unpopular program.

The Obama administration is spooked. If the vast majority of Americans are forced to choose between paying the real price of Obamacare-related insurance or a hefty fine, there will be an electoral tsunami in 2014.

Here’s hoping Oklahoma’s lawsuit gets a favorable ruling from the Supreme Court sooner rather than later.

July 8th, 2013 at 9:10 am
Podcast: A Supreme Review of the Highest Court
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

In an interview with CFIF, Megan Brown, Partner at Wiley Rein LLP in Washington, D.C., discusses the U.S. Supreme Court’s latest term, some of the Court’s key cases and decisions, and a sneak peek at the next term.

Listen to the interview here.

March 22nd, 2013 at 9:32 am
Podcast: Combating Cyber-Terrorism and SCOTUS
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

In an interview with CFIF, Megan L. Brown, a partner at Wiley Rein LLP in Washington, D.C., discusses President Obama’s Executive Order on cyber-security and provides a general overview of cases decided and yet to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court this term.

Listen to the interview here.

July 5th, 2012 at 1:35 pm
Roberts’ ObamaCare Decision a Job Creator?

It’s no secret that Chief Justice John Roberts’ opinion in the ObamaCare case last week is already helping President Barack Obama on the campaign trail by giving the unpopular law constitutional legitimacy.

But Fox News reports that Roberts’s opinion may also help the President make another boast: ObamaCare is a job creator.

Much bigger than the mandate itself are the insurance exchanges that will administer $681 billion in subsidies over 10 years, which will require a lot of new federal workers at the IRS and health department.

“They are asking for several hundred new employees,” Dorn said. “You have rules you need to write and you need lawyers, so there are lots of things you need to do when you are standing up a new enterprise.”

For some, though, the bottom line is clear and troubling: The federal government is about to assume massive new powers.

According to James Capretta of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, federal powers will include designing insurance plans, telling people where they can go for coverage and how much insurers are allowed to charge.

“Really, how doctors and hospitals are supposed to practice medicine,” he said.

The health department is still writing regulations, which can be controversial in and of themselves. One already written, for instance, requires insurance plans to cover contraception. It has been legally challenged by Catholic groups in a case likely to end up in the Supreme Court.

So, there are likely to be many more chapters to go in the saga of Obama’s health care law

And none of it would be possible without the Chief Justice.

July 3rd, 2012 at 1:42 pm
Appeals Court Says EPA Can Regulate Greenhouse Gases, Congress Flatfooted

In one of my other incarnations I teach public policy and legal interpretation at Pepperdine University’s School of Public Policy.  One of the cases we discuss every fall is Massachusetts v. EPA, a controversial standing decision by the Supreme Court that allowed the Bay State and others to bend the rules for suing the EPA for not regulating greenhouse gases.

This was in the halcyon days of the George W. Bush Administration when conservative EPA appointees had the temerity to point out that the Clean Air Act gave the agency no authorization to interpret carbon dioxide as pollution to be regulated.

No bother, said then-Justice John Paul Stevens in his majority opinion that included Justice Anthony Kennedy, author of last week’s immigration decision in Arizona v. U.S.  In the EPA case, Justice Stevens said that states like Massachusetts are due “special solicitude” when litigating at the federal bar, especially when their sovereignty is threatened by eroding coastlines thanks to future speculated rises in sea levels from global warming.  (I’ll bet Arizona Governor Jan Brewer would have liked Justice Kennedy to remember her state’s “special solicitude” regarding the integrity of its borders.)

Now we’ve got a different Administration and a different outcome.  The Obama EPA was all too happy to make the carbon dioxide endangerment finding the Supreme Court made possible.  The energy industry sued claiming EPA lacked jurisdiction, and last Tuesday the D.C. Court of Appeals upheld EPA’s unenumerated power to redefine pollution.

Unless the Supreme Court intervenes and overrules the D.C. Circuit, the fight will now move to how EPA uses its newfound regulatory power.  What are the likely outcomes?  The New York Times summarizes two of the main arguments:

“This decision ensures that a regulatory approach to emissions cuts will take place, whether or not Congress acts legislatively,” said Paul Bledsoe, a senior adviser at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a nonprofit group that specializes in energy and environmental issues. “The question is, does the industry push Congress to develop a more efficient, less costly approach now that regulation is inevitable?”

But Representative Fred Upton, the Michigan Republican who is chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said that Congress’s refusal to approve greenhouse gas limits constituted a decision and that lawmakers should act now to reverse the E.P.A. emissions rules. Carbon regulation “threatens to drive energy prices higher, destroy jobs and hamstring our economic recovery,” he said.

So, an overweening federal agency emboldened by implied powers of regulatory control is going to act “whether or not Congress acts legislatively”?  My sympathies are with Chairman Upton’s point that no decision is a decision, but that’s clearly not a roadblock to activist bureaucrats with case precedent on their side.  It’s time for Congress to get back in the game and rein in the administrative state with clear and direct commands.  They know how to write those kinds of statutes.  It’s time they did more of it.

June 29th, 2012 at 6:28 am
Ramirez Cartoon: I’m A Big Fat Liar
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.