Right Hooks

Roberts Undermines Last Year's Rebuke of EPA

Political Editors · Mar. 4, 2016
Chief Justice John Roberts

It’s become a stretch to call Chief Justice John Roberts a conservative justice, or even a consistent one. On Thursday, Roberts rejected a plea by the State of Michigan and 20 other states to block the implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s new air pollution rules.

The states reasoned that the EPA should be blocked from enforcing regulations on power plants because the Supreme Court ruled last June in Michigan v. EPA that the rule was illegal. In that original ruling, the late Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the majority, “[The] EPA strayed well beyond the bounds of reasonable interpretation in concluding that cost is not a factor relevant to the appropriateness of regulating power plants.”

But despite those strong words issued less than a year ago, Roberts denied the states' petition. The EPA had argued its rule — though declared illegal by the high court — was being revised, and the states wouldn’t be harmed by enforcement in the meantime. “He never even turned it over to the rest of the court for a decision,” wrote Hot Air’s Jazz Shaw. “Roberts just flatly and unilaterally rejected the case on his own. … I don’t see this decision going down in Supreme Court history on the same level as Roberts' botched Obamacare ruling, but it’s certainly one more straw piled on the camel’s back when it comes to his conservative bona fides.”

In response to Roberts' action, the EPA said its now-protected standards will help protect “millions of American children” from pollution. Even though it lost last year, thanks to Justice Roberts, the EPA won and is encouraged in its hyper regulation of America.

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