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Pruitt's Nomination to Lead the EPA Causes Major Upset in Political Circles, Signals Change in the Air

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 17:27:34 CST

Pruitt's Nomination to Lead the EPA Causes Major Upset in Political Circles, Signals Change in the Air Nationally syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer recently authored an article entitled, The Trump Cabinet: Bonfire of the agencies, that muses over the emphatic objections by Democrats to President-elect Donald Trump's list of nominees to his cabinet and forms an argument as to why the party is reacting in such a way. He dissects the validity of each nominee and proposes rationales as to why the people selected and their respective political dispositions could stoke the embittered backlash they have received.

Krauthammer makes the argument that Trump and his nominees are faced with so much opposition because he is selecting those that do not fit in with the status quo, in terms of political ideology. In fact, in many cases, their views are the exact opposite of what the establishment would see done. Essentially, by putting those who share his vision in place, Trump is setting the stage to advance his agenda to lessen the power of federal agencies and to reset the manner in which they operate. Krauthammer implies that the establishment has over the years, grabbed power and gone rogue in their duties. He contends that agencies have taken liberties to basically legislate, through regulation. Trump and his cabinet threaten to destroy this model and opponents, helpless to intervene, are grasping desperately for excuses to persuade others and diminish their confidence in the candidates.

With his track record of going toe-to-toe with the agency he has been nominated to lead, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is the most important of these nominations to this reversal of political ideology and the upset to the Democrat party, writes Krauthammer.

"The most incendiary nomination by far, however, is Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency. As attorney general of Oklahoma, he has joined or led a series of lawsuits to curtail EPA power. And has been upheld more than once by the courts.

"Pruitt has been deemed unfit to serve because he fails liberalism's modern-day religious test: belief in anthropogenic climate change. They would love to turn his confirmation hearing into a Scopes monkey trial. Republicans should decline the invitation. It doesn't matter whether the man believes the moon is made of green cheese. The challenges to EPA actions are based not on meteorology or theology, but on the Constitution. The issue is that the EPA has egregiously exceeded its authority and acted as a rogue agency unilaterally creating rules unmoored from legislation.

"Pruitt's is the most important nomination because it is a direct attack on the insidious growth of the administrative state. We have reached the point where EPA bureaucrats interpret the Waters of the United States rule - meant to protect American waterways - to mean that when a hard rain leaves behind a pond on your property, the feds may take over and tell you what you can and cannot do with it. (The final rule excluded puddles - magnanimity from the Leviathan.)

"On a larger scale, Obama's Clean Power Plan essentially federalizes power generation and regulation, not coincidentally killing coal along the way. This is the administration's end run around Congress' rejection of Obama's proposed 2009-2010 cap-and-trade legislation. And that was a Democratic Congress, mind you.

"Pruitt's nomination is a dramatic test of the proposition that agencies administer the law, they don't create it. That the legislative power resides exclusively with Congress and not with a metastasizing administrative bureaucracy."

Krauthammer concludes that if this reassertion of basic constitutionalism seems extreme, the Obama administration has only itself to blame. He says, that is the price they must pay for eight years of liberal overreach.



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