We will no doubt be hearing more about this in the coming days. On Tuesday, in an unprecedented move, the Supreme Court issued a brief ruling that will stay implementation of Obama’s centerpiece carbon-emissions regulations while a group of states pursues its challenge to the regs in federal court.
The court challenge was mounted in 2015 by 25 states and several business groups:
The states and business groups…argue that the rule is illegal because it goes beyond regulating emissions directly at the source. They also say carbon emissions at existing power plants are already regulated under another section of the Clean Air Act.
In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court granted the plaintiffs a stay while the suit wends its way through the court system. Such a stay of regulatory implementation isn’t just rare; it’s unprecedented:
The court’s action, which divided the justices along ideological lines, came as a surprise to many observers because the court has strict criteria for granting stays. And the Environmental Protection Agency rules, issued last summer, have yet to be evaluated by lower court judges. …
Lawyers challenging the EPA rule called the court’s move highly unusual. “It is the first time that the Supreme Court has actually stayed a regulation,” said Jeff Holmstead, a former EPA air official under President George W. Bush and a lawyer at Bracewell & Giuliani who represents clients suing the agency over the rule.
This may or may not be a good thing. Little that’s done by government is actually good these days. It will be some relief to the economy to not have to stagger under Obama’s carbon-emission regs (if that’s really the interim outcome). But it’s a measure of how far the whole apparatus of government has strayed from the boundaries once viewed as normal, that five justices looked at the scope of Obama’s regulatory blitzkrieg and decided it should be stayed even before the lower courts had looked at it. No aspect of this bodes well for the rule of law. We may thank the Supreme Court for trying to spare us the evil effects of wild regulatory overreach, but still deplore the fact that precedent and convention had to be breached to do it.
Will the justices’ move be effective? We’ll see. I tend to doubt it, given Obama’s determination to ignore court rulings on his internal-memo suspensions of federal immigration policy (see here, here, and here, as well. The courts have rejected Obama’s amnesty implementation — but that hasn’t stopped the illegal invasion).
Josh Earnest had this to say about the SCOTUS ruling:
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the administration disagreed with the Supreme Court’s move. “We remain confident that we will prevail on the merits,” Mr. Earnest said. “At the same time, the administration will continue to take aggressive steps to make forward progress to reduce carbon emissions.”
And an EPA spokeswoman expressed the same sentiment:
The EPA called the court’s decision disappointing but said it won’t stop the agency’s determination to press forward.
“You can’t stay climate change and you can’t stay climate action,” spokeswoman Melissa J. Harrison said. “Millions of people are demanding we confront the risks posed by climate change. And we will do just that.”
Whatever the Obama EPA does, we can assume it will hit the energy industry hard, but get little media coverage, and virtually no coverage that is honest and straightforward. The Obama functionaries will find ways to shut down power plants, even if they can’t do it frontally through carbon-emission rules. My bet is on some form of complaint that triggers a little-known control clause for the federal executive. And it may not be directly connected to power plants, per se.
Just order the military to “need” carbon emissions curtailed
One potential gambit is to claim that “climate change” is interfering with military readiness, and that the president needs to shut down power plants to ensure the U.S. military can keep doing its job. Don’t doubt the possibility of this. That particular gambit is a direct implication of the new Pentagon directive on combating “climate change,” which LU contributor Bethany Blankley posted about on Monday.
She quoted a telling passage in the directive. Military leaders were ordered to do the following (emphasis added):
Incorporate climate change impacts into plans and operations and integrate DoD guidance and analysis in Combatant Command planning to address climate change-related risks and opportunities across the full range of military operations, including steady-state campaign planning and operations and contingency planning.
If you think uniformed troops themselves will be coming up with climate change terrors to “address” and “plan for,” you’re on crack. What this directive does is set the stage for civilian SES and GS employees, and hand-picked extremist consultants to the Department of Defense, to come up with a wild array of “climate change” threats that undermine military readiness, and make it imperative that carbon emissions be curtailed.
The whole thing will be presented to the public as the solemn judgment of generals and admirals, when in fact, the generals and admirals will not have asked for any of it, and will have exercised zero initiative in making it happen. But that won’t be made clear to you, the people. The media will obediently report the whole thing as if it’s the idea of the uniformed brass.
This is an entirely realistic scenario.
Don’t forget, civilian control of the military is a bedrock principle of our republic. That’s for good reasons. You don’t really want the military feeling free to tell its civilian overlords to pound sand. The American people elected Barack Obama, and a military that gets used as a beard to implement radical and destructive policies is what the people bought into when they did that.