May 28, 2009

Sotomayor's environmental credentials

By Damien M. Schiff Senior Attorney

The New York Times has this article on Sotomayor's environmental credentials. It quotes Glenn Sugameli, who is head of Earth Justice's judicial nominations project.  Here is what Mr. Sugameli has to say (emphasis added):

Filling the current Supreme Court vacancy with a jurist who is fair-minded and experienced is critical. . . .  Polluters have attempted to rewrite the Constitution and laws to repeal clean air, clean water and other essential safeguards.  Four of the remaining justices unjustifiably attempted to block the Clean Air Act's application to global warming pollution, and to reinterpret the Constitution to selectively prohibit citizen and state access to court in the 2007 Massachusetts v. EPA case.

We confess to not quite understand whether Mr. Sugameli is a recent arrival from Mars, or whether he is engaging in tongue-in-cheek jocularity.  How can it be that so-called cnservative judges are the ones rewriting the Constitution?  Isn't it precisely the other way round, that the so-called liberal judges are the ones who depart from the original meaning of, for example, the Commerce Clause, in order to support the whole panoply of federal environmental laws, from the Clean Air Act to the Endangered Species Act?  It's one thing whether a judge might adopt a nonoriginalist posture in order to effect an environmentally friendly result; it's quite another to argue that those who believe the federal government to be one of limited powers are unfaithful to the Founders' vision.

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