by Greg Heller, The Holy Cause

Does the “liberal” Obama respect the Constitution more than the “conservative” Bush?  From the Contra Costa Times:

After months of battling with the Bush administration, California may be close to getting permission from the federal government to set its own standards for tailpipe emissions from cars and trucks.

President-elect Barack Obama is expected to grant the state a waiver to impose the tough new standards after he takes office in January, reversing a decision by the Bush administration that infuriated environmentalists.

“Obama has said very clearly he would permit California to move forward and enforce its greenhouse gas standards for cars, so we expect that the Bush administration’s policies will be reversed in short order,” said Frank O’Donnell, executive director of the environmental group Clean Air Watch.

… If Obama approves the waiver, the implications will reach far beyond California.

Eighteen other states already have adopted or are in the process of adopting California’s standards. The waiver would clear the way for them to impose the tougher standards as well and would force auto manufacturers to produce more fuel-efficient vehicles nationwide.

… EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson announced last December that he had decided against issuing the waiver because California did not have “compelling and extraordinary conditions” to set its own standards.

The article continues, discussing “California’s” desire to control “greenhouse gas” emissions, and Bush’s unwillingness to allow them to adopt stricter standards than the federal ones.  I find it interesting that Obama appears to be exhibiting a greater appreciation for states rights than Bush did in this case. Appearances can be deceiving.

We all know the 10th amendment, but just for discussion, I’ll paste it here:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Pollution, and the control thereof, is nowhere mentioned in the Constitution; therefore, by the 10th amendment, the power to regulate pollution is “reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”. Constitutionally, the states may have a right to regulate pollution, that would depend on the constitutions of the respective states, and the will of the people. In any case pollution regulation does not belong to the over-reaching federal government.

Neither Bush nor Obama demonstrates a belief in states rights in this case.  Bush showed his colors by enforcing federal standards against state wishes.  Obama will do the same, but with one exception – states can have laws which are more totalitarian than the federal ones. Imagine what would happen if the State of Idaho, for example, wanted to adopt a standard which was “lower” than the federal standards.  Do you think Obama, Bush, or almost anyone in Washington would be willing to go along with that?

The truth is that virtually nobody in Washington believes in the 10th amendment anymore.  They feel they can, and therefore rightfully should, regulate pretty much anything they feel like regulating.

Greg Heller [send him email] is an Evangelical Christian who holds a Libertarian political perspective.  Visit his website, The Holy Cause.

The 10th Amendment

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”



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