Monday, June 29, 2015

And Another Thing



If the job of the Supreme Court is to judge constitutionality, how is this relevant:
In a 5-4 decision, the court sided with industry and 23 states that challenged the Environmental Protection Agency over the rules for oil- and coal-fired utilities, which the EPA estimated would cost $9.6 billion dollars annually. The states and industry groups said the cost estimate far outweighed the benefits the rules would produce, estimated at $4 million to $6 million per year. 
The courts majority agreed, saying the EPA interpreted the regulation "unreasonably when it deemed cost irrelevant to the decision to regulate power plants."
Why is cost an issue for the courts? The question, I'd think, is whether the agency has the power to regulate emissions. It does, or it doesn't. Yet again, far as I can tell, the "constitutionalist" wing of the court deems to legislate rather than adjudicate. I admit to not having read the whole decision; maybe there's precedent (although that seems only to apply when they so choose) for the courts deciding "undue burden" in cases like these. Maybe somewhere within they claimed there's no right to regulate. But if so, the cost issue would have been moot.

Laws are passed all the time that demand compliance without saying who is to bear the costs or where the money would come from, or without even addressing the issue of costs. I know there are some lawyers who read this. Maybe they could enlighten us all.

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