The Supreme Court’s decision to limit the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) power is not setting well with Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.)
On Thursday, the Supreme Court handed down its decision in West Virginia v. EPA which limited the agency’s ability to regulate carbon emissions from power plants.
The Associated Press noted, “By a 6-3 vote, with conservatives in the majority, the court said that the Clean Air Act does not give the Environmental Protection Agency broad authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants that contribute to global warming.”
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, “Capping carbon dioxide emissions at a level that will force a nationwide transition away from the use of coal to generate electricity may be a sensible ‘solution to the crisis of the day.”
“A decision of such magnitude and consequence rests with Congress itself, or an agency acting pursuant to a clear delegation from that representative body,” he added.
However, this decision did not go over well.
Tlaib took to Twitter to criticize the decision, writing, “Fascist SCOTUS guts the EPA’s ability to regulate carbon emissions, fight climate change.”
“The federal government will be restricted from regulating anything of significance in the absence of a clear Congressional directive to do so,” she added.
Fascist SCOTUS guts the EPA's ability to regulate carbon emissions, fight climate change.
The federal government will be restricted from regulating anything of significance in the absence of a clear Congressional directive to do so. https://t.co/zwxyKii9P6
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) June 30, 2022
Some have argued that executive branch agencies need to be able to make such decisions and policies because they have the experts who understand the issues and can react faster and better than Congress can.
As Justice Elena Kagan wrote in her dissent, “Members of Congress often don’t know enough— and know they don’t know enough—to regulate sensibly on an issue.”
“Of course, Members can and do provide overall direction. But then they rely, as all of us rely in our daily lives, on people with greater expertise and experience. Those people are found in agencies,” she added.
This ruling tells Congress that it has to craft laws and regulations on major policy or regulatory decisions — which, along with oversight, is its Constitutional duty.
Lawmakers shouldn’t be able to just hand off responsibility for regulation to unelected bureaucrats to try to bypass the need for bipartisan buy-in on major legislation or avoid backlash from constituents.
That doesn’t mean that agencies should never be able to craft regulations. But sweeping decisions, or as Tlaib put it decisions of “significance,” should be left up to the representatives who are directly accountable to voters.
As Merriam-Webster describes it, fascism is “a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.”
It’s unclear how telling Congress that the executive branch, which is supposed to enforce laws and regulations, does not have a certain authority is fascist. If she’s referring to the broad set of the decisions handed down this term, it still does not make the most sense. The ruling overturning Roe v. Wade left it up to states to decide how to regulate abortion.
By a textbook definition, handing down rulings that decentralize power is not fascist.
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