Congress Reconvenes After Midterm Elections


Influential constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe is arguing against the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan. Tribe, who once represented Al Gore, is scheduled to be a witness before the GOP controlled Energy and Commerce committee hearing.

“Burning the Constitution should not become part of our national energy policy,” Tribe writes in his prepared testimony, in which he argues that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) doesn’t have legal authority to implement a plan that he says amounts to “a total overhaul of each state’s way of life.”

Tribe will testify that the EPA’s plan is “an unconstitutional trifecta,” usurping the role of the states, Congress and the federal courts, all at once. EPA is forcing states that will raise energy costs and prove deeply unpopular “while cloaking those policies in the Emperor’s garb of state ‘choice,'” according to his testimony released by the committee.

Since the states’ only choice will be to lose federal funds if they fail to act, Tribe argues that it amounts to no choice at all. “This submissive role for the States confounds the political accountability that the Tenth Amendment is meant to protect,” Tribe writes.

While acknowledging that he has received funding from Peabody Energy, one of the world’s largest coal companies, Tribe has declared that his views are his own and he was retained to provide his views as a scholar of constitutional law. Tribe makes no comment about the science of climate change or the potential efficacy of the Clean Power Plan, focusing only on the constitutional law aspects of the plan.