ABC Whines SCOTUS Is Making Congress Do Its Job With EPA Ruling

In their final release of rulings for the session Thursday, the Supreme Court scored a massive blow to the unbridled, bureaucratic regulatory state. Once more, the Conservative Justices came together and ruled the infamous Environmental Protection Agency could not exercise unlimited executive authority and Congress needed to pass legislation allowing them to act. This caused outrage on the streaming service ABC News Live, where senior national correspondent Terry Moran whined that Congress was now expected to do its job.

“A significant decision on how the EPA is allowed to enforce restrictions to protect the environment,” anchor Whit Johnson announced after breaking in with the rulings. “Of course, profound implications.”

In his first comments on the ruling, Moran warned that “President Biden’s authority [was] at stake” and he seemed stupefied by their reasoning for ruling against the EPA:

That is the kind of question that is so large, affects so much of the American economy, that it requires Congress to address it, and not an agency of the executive branch. And that, not only will affect climate change in a major way, but it will also have ripple effects right through the federal government. Because this is a landmark opinion saying, reviving the notion, that on big, big questions of national policy, the national legislature, Congress, must make the law, and the agencies execute.

Moran came back for round two a few minutes later with Johnson voicing concerns about Congress being forced to do its job:

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JOHNSON: If the EPA can’t regulate climate emissions and this now has to go back to Congress, many people might just be looking at this as more opportunity for gridlock.

MORAN: That’s it exactly, Whit. What we have is a broken Congress on immigration and on climate change. For most of the century, Congress has been trying to act to find a solution to the immigration issues in this country.

“To try to act on climate change and it’s such a divided Congress. And such a dysfunctional Congress that it cannot make the kind of law that would direct the agency to operate in such a way,” Moran added in protest.

Essentially, they argued that the U.S. Supreme Court should ignore the Constitution and the separation of powers because the Democrats can’t put together a winning argument and pass their agenda.

After shifting to the immigration ruling which went in Biden’s favor, Johnson brought the conversation back to the EPA ruling. He spoke with senior Washington reporter Devin Dwyer, who lamented that the Justices had “handcuffed the agency in terms of how aggressively it can go after those greenhouse gases.”

Dwyer also bemoaned how “devastating” this was “to climate advocates. Especially the Biden administration, who had made the climate agenda a centerpiece of this White House.”

Legal analyst Kate Shaw elevated a bizarre dissent from Justice Kegan who suggested the court was taking power from Congress. But what they were telling Congress to do was take back the power they signed away to the executive branch. “But I think the logic applies to all manner of questions and problems government might try to address. And the Court is here saying, we’re going to second guess your ability to do that,” she suggested.

Nearing the end of their break-in, Moran lashed out at the conservative justices and blamed them for putting the court through the “throes of change.” He decried the “emboldened conservative supermajority” and described them as brutes “now really striking out and looking for areas that it can make a huge difference.”

“And on the climate change case, it really does, as Kate said, impact not just the authority of the EPA but the ripple effects on other executive branch agencies to try to be creative and address problems that Congress is failing to address has been limited by this opinion,” he concluded.

The transcript is below, click “expand” to read:

ABC News Live
June 30, 2022
10:58:55 a.m. Eastern

WHIT JOHNSON: Good morning, I’m Whit Johnson in New York. We’re coming on the air for will be a history-making day on the U.S. Supreme Court on many levels. The justices releasing their final two decisions, in what has been a very divisive term. At the same time, marking the end of Justice Stephen Breyer’s 27 years on the bench.

Now, following the court’s sweeping ruling on abortion, overturning Roe v. Wade, and after striking down New York State’s gun control law about carrying concealed weapons. The court now handing down consequential decisions on immigration and climate change, impacting the entire country.

(…)

Now, the second question here, climate change. A significant decision on how the EPA is allowed to enforce restrictions to protect the environment. And the question we’re looking at, can the EPA issue rules capable of reshaping the nation’s electricity grids, driving power companies away from fossil fuels? The answer there, technically, no. Although, it’s not a complete elimination of its power, it’s just reducing what the EPA can actually do when it comes to things like climate change.

Of course, profound implications. You know, when it comes to other agencies as well. So, let’s get right to ABC senior national correspondent Terry Moran, who covers a Supreme Court for us. And Terry, big picture here on both issues. What is the impact across the board?

TERRY MORAN: Two big cases here. Really big cases. And President Biden’s authority at stake in each one. He won one, he lost one.

(…)

11:01:19 a.m. Eastern

On the loss side, that’s climate change. And in that case, the court, in both opinions, by the way, by Chief Justice John Roberts, the court sharply limited the ability, the authority of the government, the EPA, to limit climate—greenhouse gas emissions. They did so because they said that that question, as it was addressed in the Obama administration, which set up a cap and trade policy, trying to limit climate change emissions.

That is the kind of question that is so large, affects so much of the American economy, that it requires Congress to address it, and not an agency of the executive branch. And that, not only will affect climate change in a major way, but it will also have ripple effects right through the federal government. Because this is a landmark opinion saying, reviving the notion, that on big, big questions of national policy, the national legislature, Congress, must make the law, and the agencies executed.

JOHNSON: All right Terry, we’ll come back to you in a bit.

(…)

11:08:50 a.m. Eastern

JOHNSON: The Biden ministration is really going to have to take a second look at how they’re going to approach their climate agenda from here on out.

DEVIN DWYER: Yeah, the Supreme Court has long said that the EPA can regulate greenhouse gases, which are causing climate change. But today, they handcuffed the agency in terms of how aggressively it can go after those greenhouse gases.

And make no mistake, this is devastating to climate advocates. Especially the Biden administration, who had made the climate agenda a centerpiece of this White House. They want to rollback emissions in this country. A leading driver of global climate change.

And this is a huge win, Whit, for the coal industry and those communities that support it. I spent a lot of time ahead of this case in Appalachia, coincidentally, one of the communities hardest hit by the impacts of climate change. But they are very resistant to these sorts of regulations. 1.7 million jobs in that industry, and related industries.

And, even though they are open to regulation. They want some, you know, regulation to cap emissions at these power plants, that brings in jobs as well. There is real concern that generation shifting, requiring these companies to move towards solar and wind was really a bridge too far. And we saw the court today agreed that. Whit.

(…)

11:11:18 a.m. Eastern

KATE SHAW: So, I think you see what Justice Elena Kagan’s and her dissent, is this is the court assuming for itself the power to make really confident decisions. Taking it from agencies yet. Even taking it from Congress. And so the topic here is climate regulation. But I think the logic applies to all manner of questions and problems government might try to address. And the Court is here saying, we’re going to second guess your ability to do that.

(…)

11:13:50 a.m. Eastern

JOHNSON: If the EPA can’t regulate climate emissions and this now has to go back to Congress, many people might just be looking at this as more opportunity for gridlock.

MORAN: That’s it exactly, Whit. What we have is a broken Congress on immigration and on climate change. For most of the century, Congress has been trying to act to find a solution to the immigration issues in this country. To try to act on climate change and it’s such a divided Congress. And such a dysfunctional Congress that it cannot make the kind of law that would direct the agency to operate in such a way.

And so, President Obama, President Trump, President Biden have all now taken upon themselves with their executive authority to try to do something. And the court is saying on both these issues, slow down, no the Congress needs to act.

I do think one of the things we’re seeing is this is a court in the throes of change. An emboldened conservative supermajority now really striking out and looking for areas that it can make a huge difference. And on the climate change case, it really does as Kate said impact not just the authority of the EPA but the ripple effects on other executive branch agencies to try to be creative and address problems that Congress is failing to address has been limited by this opinion.

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