The following is an excerpt from Tom Evslin’s recent Fractals of Change blog post, which in part looks at last week’s U.S. Supreme Court 6-3 decision on West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The decision by the Supreme Court that the EPA cannot regulate greenhouse emissions is an important step to preserving our republic. It does NOT say that the federal government cannot regulate these emissions. It does NOT say that regulation is unconstitutional. It does not say that global warming is unimportant (or important). It does say that the President may not order his regulators to go beyond the authorization that Congress has explicitly given them.
It is not the job of the Supreme Court to make public policy decisions. They should not and did not rule on whether such emissions should be regulated or whether it is good public policy to ban coal-fired power plants. Part of their job is to keep the two other branches of the federal government in their lanes and to keep the republic from becoming a monarchy.
“But,” people say about this issue and many others, “Congress didn’t act so the President had to do something!” These are well meaning people, but they are really saying “if Democracy doesn’t give the results I think are necessary, then we need to have a dictatorship.” Meanwhile congresspeople escape accountability for decisions and can blame any inconvenience on the damned bureaucrats or on businesspeople depending on their party (see the price of oil).
This decision does endanger many other unauthorized regulations. The Court already decided that the CDC does not have the authority to ban evictions nor does OSHA have the right to mandate large employer vaccination policies. The Court hasn’t said and shouldn’t say whether an eviction ban or a vaccine mandate are good or bad public policy. They have said that it is the role of Congress and not of the President through the executive agencies to make such policy or at least to explicitly delegate such authority to the executive branch.
If we want to keep our republic, we need to stand against both leaders who want to lead without the consent of the governed and legislative abdication to the executive.