Saturday, July 20th, 2019

How will Scalia’s death affect the Clean Power Plan?


The death of Justice Antonin Scalia puts the center-right majority on the Supreme Court in peril. Instead of 5-4, the court is evenly split depending on what happens to President Barack Obama’s nominee or possibly the presidential election. On the MacIver Institute website, I explain why Scalia’s death is important for one case that will have a strong impact on the economy of Wisconsin, and how the Clean Power Plan raises the stakes on choosing Scalia’s successor.

The death of Justice Antonin Scalia is not only setting up a huge political showdown in Washington D.C., it will also have a tremendous effect on the state of Wisconsin. It was just last week when the Supreme Court ordered a stay, on a 5-4 vote, of President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan until the lawsuit brought by 27 states against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can be resolved.

The case is currently before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals which is scheduled to hear oral arguments in June. Regardless of what decision the appeals court makes, it’s widely expected the decision will be appealed to the Supreme Court. It’s not hard to imagine that any Supreme Court appointment by Obama will vote the other way, giving the EPA a 5-4 victory, when the Clean Power Plan comes before the court again.

This would be bad news for our state. Wisconsin, led by Attorney General Brad Schimel, is one of the states suing the EPA. The reason Schimel joined the suit against the EPA is because the executive branch of the United States is overstepping its authority. It requires state agencies to become accomplices in this federal policy of controlling carbon emissions, regardless of the state’s policies and needs.

The law would also have a terrible impact on Wisconsin’s economy. Because Wisconsin depends on coal for 60 percent of our electricity needs, the Clean Power Plan will hit Wisconsin electricity ratepayers hard. That means real costs for manufacturers and heavy industry as well as consumers.

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