Obama's Former Law School Mentor Says The President Is Burning The Constitution

Surprisingly, President Obama’s law school mentor, Laurence Tribe, testified before Congress this week that “burning the Constitution of the United States, about which I care deeply, cannot be a part of our national energy policy.” He said that the “EPA is attempting an unconstitutional trifecta: usurping the prerogatives of the States, Congress and the Federal Courts — all at once.”

On Tuesday, the House Energy and Commerce committee's Energy and Power subcommittee held a hearing concerning the "legal and cost issues" surrounding the EPA's proposed 111(d) Rule for Existing Power Plants. Tribe was referring to the President's plan to clean up power plant carbon pollution using a section of the Clean Air Act. It will get another hearing in the U.S. District Court of Appeals on April 14 after challenges came forth from the coal industry. Tribe also said, “When I use the metaphor that burning the Constitution is not a good source of fuel for dealing with these problems, I was being metaphorical only in part,” he said. “When you tear the Constitution apart, bit by bit, and give it the death by a thousand cuts, what else will we sacrifice the Constitution for?”

On the other hand, Richard L. Revesz, the Lawrence King Professor of Law and Dean Emeritus at the New York University School of Law said, “The Clean Power Plan is not, as its opponents argue, an unprecedented approach that risks economic calamity. Instead, it is just another example of the EPA doing its job to ensure that polluters account for the cost of their pollution in a manner that will result in substantial net economic benefits to the public.” Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA is required to regulate greenhouse gases. Tribe talked about the conflict over whether the Clean Air Act lets the EPA go after emissions "inside" or "outside the fence." Meaning whether or not the EPA can allow states to limit carbon from coal plants by using more renewable energy is what is called "outside the fence." Tribe says the EPA's use of outer-fence-tactics would be a "radical change."

Photo: Grist

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