Supreme Court: EPA Cannot Regulate Carbon Emissions

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  • Source: UncoverDC
  • 09/19/2023

The Supreme Court ruled on an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) case regarding the Clean Air Act on Thursday. The ruling dealt a blow to the Biden administration's radical environmental policies.

The Court ruled 6-3, limiting the EPA's ability to regulate emissions and air quality. Written by Justice Roberts, the majority opinion also says that Congress, not the EPA, should be the arbiter of cap-and-trade regulation in the effort to move away from coal to renewable energy sources. In West Virginia v. the EPA, Roberts writes:

"The EPA has admitted that issues of electricity transmission, distribution, and storage are not within its traditional expertise. And this Court doubts that "Congress intended to delegate decision[s] of such economic and political significance," i.e., how much coal-based generation there should be over the coming decades, to any administrative agency."

"But the only question before the Court is more narrow: whether the "best system of emission reduction" identified by EPA in the Clean Power Plan was within the authority granted to the Agency in Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. For the reasons given, the answer is no."

The decision is a real setback for the Biden administration and its progressive allies, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), who have been fighting aggressively for a comprehensive, economy-crushing Green New Deal. The goal has been to force power plants to move toward zero carbon emissions by 2025. Biden is also gunning to cut in half the nation's emissions by 2100.

The EPA ruling could portend much broader implications for the power of agencies to regulate and make policy down the road. The federal government is now a behemoth that has officially lost sight of its own limitations of power. The administrative state is out of control, with unelected bureaucrats often running the show. Perhaps some of the other federal agencies will have to duke it out in Court because they too have not been "delegated by Congress with decisions" of "economic and political significance" to the American people.

The rulings come on the heels of two other significant wins; one that sends the debate on abortion back to the States and the other, a victory for the Second Amendment.

Biden and AOC Trash the Supreme Court

The EPA and Dobbs' decisions led Biden to trash the United States Supreme Court at the NATO summit in Saudi Arabia. His answer to the press effectively became a public tantrum on the international stage as he stated that the "Supreme Court is destabilizing the world." 

AOC also offered her unsolicited and ignorant opinion on the matter, "for the sake of the planet." She wants "to do away with the whole thing" even though the Court is part of the checks and balances we citizens sometimes enjoy to limit the power of any one branch of government. She also said it is the "power of Congress and the President to keep the Supreme Court in check." It is actually the other way around, AOC, but you do you. She has also tossed into the ring the idea of expanding the Court. She is not alone in her wish to pack the Court. The Green New Deal is her signature policy. Panic has definitely set in.

Court Rescinds Trump's Remain In Mexico Policy

Biden scored on the immigration front, however. The Court opinion—written by Chief Justice Roberts—ruled to end President Trump's Remain in Mexico policy for asylum seekers. Also known as Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), the policy sends illegal aliens back to Mexico to await asylum decisions. Biden immediately rescinded the policy when he took office. However, some states argued that Biden should keep the policy. Kavanaugh joined Roberts and the Liberal justices in the majority opinion in a 5-4 vote.

Todd Bensman, Senior National Security Fellow for the Center for Immigration Studies, says the Biden administration hasn't really been following MPP anyway. He also says to look on the bright side. A Republican administration will be more likely to reinstate it because of the precedent set by the Court's ruling.

Bensman quipped that things could become "really interesting" due to the recent actions of Kinney County Sheriff Brad Coe. Coe "personally drove four illegal immigrants he'd apprehended back to the US-Mexico border to deport them, insisting he's been left with no choice given the current border crisis."

"Nobody blinked," said Bensman. However, he says if Biden begins to force Sheriffs to allow illegals to stay, it could get really awkward and "potentially impactful" if the "sheriff continues to push immigrants back." Bensman continued:

"Then there could be many 'Sheriff Coes', and the state DPS can also start pushing them back over. So it'll be really interesting to finally push this thing to a face-to-face conflict or confrontation on the bridge. If the Biden administration decides to reject and block these returns from a sheriff, that'll be interesting TV because you'll have the Biden administration saying. Just go free."

President Obama was widely known to make decisions by fiat with a pen, including some very impactful ones on immigration. He granted amnesty to up to six million illegal economic migrants with his order to refrain from deporting DACA and DAPA migrants. Obama resorted to the pen because he knew he did not have statutory authority. Obama's amnesty policies failed in Congress and the courts.

On the other hand, Trump had to jump through a million bureaucratic hoops to make his Remain in Mexico policy legal and legitimate immigration policy. It makes one wonder why the Court failed to put Biden through those same hoops. Biden's immigration policies have resulted in some of the largest migrations across our borders in recorded history.

According to the Center for Immigration Studies, MPP was hugely successful in stemming the tide of illegal crossings. Andrew Arthur, a CIS Fellow, explains the history of the various court proceedings on MPP. However, his main "takeaway" from the Biden v. Texas ruling is that "the Court has left the door open" for further litigation from Texas on the matter.

"The Court has left the door open to the state plaintiffs' challenge of the Biden administration's policy of releasing on parole hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants who are not expelled from the United States under Title 42 but instead processed under the INA.

It will now be up to the Fifth Circuit and the district court to determine whether Mayorkas' October 29 termination of Remain in Mexico complied with the APA and whether the Biden administration's release of illegal migrants at the Southwest border violates the INA. This is likely not the last time the Court will be considering this case."

Given Biden's abject neglect of the nation's borders, states like Texas and Arizona may soon resort to looking at other options to secure their borders. Russ Vought of Citizens for Renewing America argues states should look at reframing the border crisis as an invasion. He says there is a Constitutional basis on which to consider the strategy of securing the border at the state level because what we are now experiencing with the trafficking by the cartels of drugs and children is a legitimate threat to the nation's safety and sovereignty.

"We look back at the Constitution, say, what did the founders mean when they looked at an invasion. It wasn't just foreign nation-states. It was bandits, gangs, and large groups of people that it was hard to get a handle on from a security standpoint. And we've said that constitutes an invasion that the Constitution then says there are self-help provisions to allow them to defend their people and keep them safe." 

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