By E. Sebastian Arduengo
One of the country’s most significant federal appeals courts has morphed into a hotbed of activist judges striking longstanding federal regulations, says columnist Steven Pearlstein. And at a time when some corporations claim they are hesitant to hire because of regulatory uncertainty.
(The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is so important because it has the responsibility of reviewing most of the rules and interpretative decisions made by federal agencies in the capital. It has also been seen as the U.S. Supreme Court’s farm team, as Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Ginsburg are all former D.C. circuit judges.)
For example, The Washington Post columnist Pearlstein notes that just before Labor day, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, an appointee of President George W. Bush and possible Supreme Court contender under a Republican administration, issued a ruling in Homer City Generation v. EPA. The case involved the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, where the EPA was trying to regulate the amount of pollution states could dump on other, “downwind” states. As Pearlstein puts it, from Kavanaugh’s decision, “You’d have no idea that hundreds of dedicated, highly trained scientists, analysts and statisticians at the EPA might have spent more than a decade devoted to the extremely complex task of figuring out how much of the ozone or sulfur dioxide in the air in Rhode Island originated in Indiana.”