Obama Wants Supreme Court To Throw Out Case Against Utilities

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on a lawsuit brought by several environmental groups as well as several States.  This group is asking the Court to force power plants in 20 states to reduce their CO2 emissions.  The Obama Administration is siding with the power companies asking that the EPA throw out the lawsuit.  Obama on the side of the Utility companies you ask with a stunned look on your face.  Well, they are but not because they don’t want to cut CO2 emissions.  They are arguing that the Supremes should not set the regulations, but rather that should be left to the EPA which has not yet written them.  They say that the Court should not meddle in the powers given to the Executive Branch of which, as you know, the EPA is a member.

Laurence Tribe, lib lawyer extraordinaire, is supporting the Administration in their quest to get the Supremes to drop the case.  In his letter to the Boston Globe he says:

“Congress, through the Clean Air Act and other measures, has empowered the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gases, and that agency has begun to do so, prodded by a Supreme Court ruling in favor of Massachusetts when the state sued the EPA to compel it to take up the problem. The courts should reject the political and administrative roles that would be thrust upon them by litigants dissatisfied with Congress’s decision to entrust the EPA with this challenging mission — or by those dissatisfied with the efforts of the president and the State Department to engage in the international diplomacy required to cope with an obviously international problem.” (underlines are my emphasis)

Give me a break.  The  previous Congress thought it necessary that it write legislation to manage CO2 but could not get a bill to pass. And that was with a Democrat majority in both houses and the Presidency!!!   How does that translate into “…Congress’s decision to entrust the EPA”????  Today, neither the House nor Senate could muster a bill with 50% voting for regulation of CO2.

NOW, Tribe thinks the Supreme’s activities on this topic are a “dangerous perversion of the judicial process and would likely retard efforts to grapple with climate change…..”  It was A-ok to do it in the Massachusetts versus the EPA when it resulted in the Supremes making that horrible decision in Mass.’s favor. Do I smell hypocrisy?

I believe there are two reasons Obama, supported by Tribe, don’t want the Supremes involved any more:

  • Fear that the Supremes will somehow try to make up for their previous error by narrowing the EPA’s power to regulate
  • Hundreds of lawsuits await the EPA if they follow through with their intended path of focusing on the “big polluters–hence Utilities and automobiles” and ignoring everything else.  Folks say that the EPA can’t be selective—- picking and choosing whom they are going to regulate— but rather like with other “pollutants” they must regulate all sources. All the hospitals, the high schools, the office building down the street, your house, etc.  The EPA  doesn’t want anyone to tell them what to regulate.  A decision by the Supremes to set emission limits on these utilities would open the gate for the lawsuits.
UPDATE 19 APRIL 2011  Seems the Supremes are likely to side with Obama. See this posting.

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