Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Writing at USA Today, William A, Jacobson reviews
the year from the perspective of constitutional law and concludes
that, "2016 may be a referendum on whether the public wants the
federal government, particularly the president, to live within
constitutional boundaries". Among his reasons:
As to the environment, EPA regulatory authority has been used expansively to scale-back the coal industry and shutter coal burning power plants. Those regulations have cost Democrats politically in states like West Virginia and Kentucky, but the damage to the coal industry may be irreversible.The abuses catalogued by Jacobson's article are cause for alarm, and I think especially due to (1) the unlikelihood of the new Republican majority impeaching the President and removing him from office, and (2) the palpable lack of pressure on them to do the same.
Further, the administration has moved to implement national carbon-emission reductions even though Congress has not approved such a national reworking of our energy policy. Even The New York Times notes that President Obama "could leave office with the most aggressive, far-reaching environmental legacy of any occupant of the White House. Yet it is very possible that not a single major environmental law will have passed during his two terms in Washington."
The exploitation of environmental regulatory authority not to implement laws, but to create a regulatory equivalent of legislation, is an abuse of executive discretion. At every level, the Obama administration has signaled that going it alone is the only way to get things done. [bold added]
Jacobson argues that 2016 will be a referendum on constitutional government, but one could almost as easily argue that we have had our referendum, and that it has failed to pass.