March 27, 2016
The loss of Justice Antonin Scalia presents President Obama with a chance to change the balance of the Supreme Court for a generation. It is imperative that the Senate follow precedent and not confirm any nominee this election year, even Judge Merrick Garland.
Oklahomans owe a debt of gratitude to Judge Garland who, while at the Department of Justice, oversaw the prosecution of Timothy McVeigh, bringing justice for all of us. For this we thank him.
Under the U.S. Constitution, Congress writes the laws; the president ensures those laws are faithfully executed; and the judiciary holds everyone accountable to the law as written. After seven years of executive overreach, our courts are deciding whether we are a nation of the rule of law or the rule of man.
The Supreme Court will soon decide whether President Obama's executive amnesty will proceed. Both the district court and the appeals court have held that his policy of deferring prosecution of illegal aliens will not go into effect until the courts have heard the merits of the case. The Supreme Court will soon determine if the president's plan will stand.
Days before Justice Scalia's death, the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, voted to stay the president's Clean Power Plan until litigation is complete. In effect, the Clean Power Plan will cost $292 billion by mandating carbon dioxide cuts from the power sector. If the Supreme Court upholds this rule, citizens in 40 states will see double-digit electricity price increases.
If you ask farmers and developers what regulations they fear the most, they will likely say the Environmental Protection Agency's Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. Currently, states have jurisdiction over the water found within their borders, unless it is navigable. However, WOTUS would turn that authority over to the federal government to regulate even a cattle pond, limiting what can be done on private land. The lower courts have stayed this rule. The final decision on whether the Obama administration has overstepped its bounds will be left to the Supreme Court.
The court also will determine the fate of regulations at the state level. Recently, the court heard arguments regarding Texas' new abortion law. After the horrors discovered in Dr. Kermit Gosnell's abortion clinic that led to the death of women and the murder of viable babies, Texas passed a law holding abortion clinics to the same medical standards as other outpatient surgery facilities. It will be the Supreme Court that will decide whether this law is within a state's authority to protect the health and safety of its citizens.
These are only a few examples of pending decisions before the Supreme Court.
Americans have the opportunity to determine what direction the country will take for the next generation, not just the next four years. Voters should have the final voice in the balance of the court. After all, it is the American people who will bear the burden of the court's decisions.
Inhofe, of Tulsa, and Lankford, of Oklahoma City are both Republicans.