Sunday, May 18, 2014

Whitman v. American Trucking Associations, Inc. v. EPA case brief

Whitman v. American Trucking Associations, Inc. v. EPA case brief
First D.C. Circuit Opinion:
EPA’s construction of Clean Water Act provisions (authorizing EPA to promulgate regulations establishing standards for air pollutants) renders them an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power
Although EPA used reasonable factors, it articulated no intelligible principle to guide application of those factors (reading “requisite” just to mean it leads to less pollution)
Rationales for nondelegation doctrine:
o    Keep standards from being arbitrary
o    Increase chance of meaningful judicial review being feasible
o    *Make sure important policy choices are made by Congress
Risk/benefit analysis would be intelligible principle
Dissent – there was intelligible principle in setting standards requisite to public health and if court finds that agency didn’t follow those standards, that’s for a&c review, not a delegation issue
Second D.C. Circuit Opinion
Not for court to choose among permissible interpretations of an ambiguous principle (Chevron) – can’t decide if it’s an intelligible principle until it’s applied
Supreme Court Opinion
Not a violation of nondelegation doctrine
A limiting agency construction cannot cure nondelegation problem – that’s silly
However, the scope of discretion allowed here (“requisite for public health”) is well within outer limits of nondelegation precedents [Court has sustained much worse than this]
Thomas concurrence: no delegation of legislative power; intelligible principle shouldn’t always cure when there is such a delegation (Formalist Approach)
Stevens concurrence: Vesting clause doesn’t prevent delegation of legislative power; intelligible principle is enough of a check (Functionalist Approach)
o    Constitution-based objections to this view
§ Getting laws made is supposed to require bicameralism and presentment
§ Electoral accountability of Congress eroded with delegation to agency (or is it?)

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