Last week, this took place:
Then, this, yesterday.
Agencies of the U.S. government make regulations to implement acts of Congress – such as the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation limiting carbon emissions from power plants, under the Clean Air Act. Sometimes plaintiffs challenge the legality of such a regulation, arguing the agency exceeded what Congress intended – as plaintiffs have done in this case. Occasionally, plaintiffs ask the courts to put the regulation on hold until the courts have fully considered their lawsuit – arguing they’ll otherwise suffer irreparable harm while awaiting a ruling. Often, as in this case, the lower court refuses. But never before in history has the Supreme Court overruled a lower court that refused such a stay, and decided itself to put a regulation on hold. Yet that’s what the five Republican appointees on the Court did yesterday evening -- blocking the Environmental Protection Agency’s landmark regulation. They gave no reasons.
The result is to freeze the heart of Obama’s climate policy until the courts have fully considered its legality. When might that be? The D.C. Circuit’s Court of Appeals has scheduled oral arguments for July 2, so a ruling from that court could be early next fall. The Supreme Court might then hear an appeal in late 2017 and decide by 2018. Of course, the five Republican appointees might then decide the regulation is illegal, or by then a Republican president might simply refuse to put the rule into effect. (Several Republican candidates, including Marco Rubio, don’t believe carbon emissions are contributing to climate change.)
In this case, the five Republicans on the Court decided that the plaintiffs – coal companies, power plants, utilities – will suffer irreparable harm over the next two or three years if the regulation is put into effect. But what about the irreparable harm to the environment from two or three more years of gunk being spewed into the atmosphere? Why should harm to profits take precedence over harm to life on earth? What planet are the five Republicans on, anyway? --Robert Reich
What is it?
I'm trying to think.
What is it about this President, this one President that's different that Congress treats him differently than any other.
Let me see...