Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Opposite directions

Two items in the news this past week draw into stark comparison the directions in which our leaders wish to take us.  One of these examples is at the Federal level - Leviathan incarnate.  The other is (I hope) a nascent States Rights movement to fight Leviathan.
Government agents can sneak onto your property in the middle of the night, put a GPS device on the bottom of your car and keep track of everywhere you go. This doesn't violate your Fourth Amendment rights, because you do not have any reasonable expectation of privacy in your own driveway — and no reasonable expectation that the government isn't tracking your movements.

That is the bizarre — and scary — rule that now applies in California and eight other Western states. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which covers this vast jurisdiction, recently decided the government can monitor you in this way virtually anytime it wants — with no need for a search warrant.
You read that right: the government -- Leviathan -- can send its minions to plant a tracking device on your vehicle while it's on your property. If this doesn't fall into the category of a Fourth Amendment violation, then nothing does. It's just one more example of Leviathan wiping its ass with the Constitution.

On the other hand, Texas has just about had it with being Leviathan's bitch.
The EPA, determined to move forward anyway, is attempting to rewrite the Clean Air Act administratively via a "tailoring rule," which would reduce the number of regulated sources. The problem with that approach? It's illegal. The EPA has no authority to rewrite the law. To pull it off, the EPA needs every state with a State Implementation Plan to rewrite all of its statutory thresholds as well.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Chairman Bryan W. Shaw saw the tailoring rule for what it really is: a massive power grab and centralization of authority. They are fighting back, writing to the EPA:

"In order to deter challenges to your plan for centralized control of industrial development through the issuance of permits for greenhouse gases, you have called upon each state to declare its allegiance to the Environmental Protection Agency's recently enacted greenhouse gas regulations - regulations that are plainly contrary to U.S. laws. ... To encourage acquiescence with your unsupported findings you threaten to usurp state enforcement authority and to federalize the permitting program of any state that fails to pledge their fealty to the Environmental Protection Agency. On behalf of the State of Texas, we write to inform you that Texas has neither the authority nor the intention of interpreting, ignoring or amending its laws in order to compel the permitting of greenhouse gas emissions."
"I got yer tailoring rule RIGHT HERE!"

Mind you, I'm generally no fan of Texas, home to notorious bigots Ron in Houston and the head bigot, the case law-worshiping Caput a Palos. But if Texas shows the stones to stand up to what is, in effect, a power grab by unelected bureaucrats, then all I have to say is, "Go Texas!"

Now if we can just get 49 more states to follow suit....