WASHINGTON, DC – The Supreme Court rendered two recent decisions, with one decision regarding the EPA’s authority ostensibly serving as a win for conservatives, whereas the other decision on the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy leaving those on the right peeved.
On June 30th, the Supreme Court issued a 6-3 ruling that limited the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency to create seemingly with impunity standards regarding greenhouse gas emissions for existing power plants.
The case in question is West Virginia v. the Environmental Protection Agency, which stemmed from a 2015 directive from the EPA that instructed coal power plants to either limit their production or dabble in other forms of energy production.
However, that 2015 directive never reached full enforcement, as it was immediately challenged in court – and the Supreme Court’s ruling from June 30th found that various alphabet agencies can’t essentially make up rules that pose a major national significance.
Writing for the court’s majority, Chief Justice John Roberts cited what’s known as the “major questions doctrine,” which spells out that agencies like the EPA cannot issue large-scale directives unless they’ve been explicitly endowed with those abilities via Congress.
“Capping carbon dioxide emissions at a level that will force a nationwide transition away from the use of coal to generate electricity may be a sensible ‘solution to the crisis of the day,’ but it is not plausible that Congress gave EPA the authority to adopt on its own such a regulatory scheme…A decision of such magnitude and consequence rests with Congress itself, or an agency acting pursuant to a clear delegation from that representative body.”
In short, the Supreme Court basically told Congress to get back to work and pass some legislation instead of letting unelected three-letter agencies make up what should be legislation on the fly.
In recent weeks, conservatives could reasonably assert that the Supreme Court has been handing them one victory after another – but with so much winning, there was inevitably going to be some kind of a letdown coming from the high court.
In a 5-4 ruling issued by the Supreme Court on June 30th, the court found that the Biden administration does have the authority to end former President Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy.
Being touted as a victory for Biden, the Supreme Court’s decision put an end to the various legal challenges the current administration has faced with trying to undo the Trump policy.
The Migrant Protection Protocols, often referred to as “Remain in Mexico,” was essentially just that – a policy under the Trump administration that saw migrants who sought entry into the United States would have to remain in Mexico while they awaited their respective immigration hearings.
The states of Missouri and Texas challenged the Biden administration’s efforts to upend the Migrant Protection Protocols, pointing to 8 U.S.C. § 1225 in their rationale by claiming that if a migrant is unable to be detained then they must be sent back to their territory of origin.
However, Chief Justice Roberts writing for the court’s majority explained that there simply isn’t any such language found in the aforementioned statute.
“The problem is that the statute does not say anything like that…The statutory grant of discretion here contains no such caveat, and we will not rewrite it to include one.”
Additionally, the high court pointed out the Executive Branch’s inherited responsibly of “direct diplomacy,” claiming that forcing the current administration to return migrants to their countries of origin when detention isn’t possible/or needed would foment “foreign affairs consequences” while also imposing “a significant burden upon the Executive’s ability to conduct diplomatic relations with Mexico.”