As green czars go, the powers of the Environmental Protection Agency and its administrator are at least circumscribed by law, the powers of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals much less so. When a majority of the circuit ruled the other day that California could not resume permitting suction panning of riverbeds for traces of gold, Judge Milan Smith Jr. along with three colleagues dissented with some asperity. “Here we go again,” he began, and went on to cite Gulliver bound by the Lilliputians. To quote the WSJ Law Blog:
No legislature or regulatory agency would enact sweeping rules that create such economic chaos, shutter entire industries, and cause thousands of people to lose their jobs. That is because the legislative and executive branches are directly accountable to the people through elections, and its members know they would be removed swiftly from office were they to enact such rules,” he wrote.
“Unfortunately,” he added, “I believe the record is clear that our court has strayed with lamentable frequency from its constitutionally limited role.”