U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) spoke on the Senate floor yesterday about President Trump’s announcement to repeal Obama’s onerous and illegal Clean Power Plan and Supreme Court nominee Judge Kavanaugh. Inhofe met with Kavanaugh in July.
On the Clean Power Plan Repeal:
After the announcement that was made this morning—it was a great announcement, long awaited—I think it is appropriate that we talk a little bit about it. When President Trump withdrew from the Paris Agreement and pulled back from the Clean Power Plan, we heard from the environmental extremists and the liberals declaring that the administration’s actions ‘‘endangered public health, endangered our environment and our economic prosperity.’’ That was Governors Brown and Cuomo. They further declared that ‘‘if we don’t decarbonize our future, people are going to die.’’ People are always going to die. That is what the extremists always say. I guess there must be a population out there that actually believes that.
However, the opposite is happening without a one-sided international agreement or the punishing Clean Power Plan in effect. In 2017, the United States led the world in CO2 reductions, while China and India led the world in increasing CO2 emissions. How many people know that? All you ever hear about is that we are the guilty over here one in terms of our emissions. That is not true at all. Just think, both China and India led the world in increasing CO2 emissions.
These are the guys our previous President, President Obama, would have us believe were actually making great sacrifices, and here they are leading in increasing CO2 emissions. When we passed tax reform, the Democrats claimed we would experience ‘‘Armageddon’’—Nancy Pelosi said that—and the tax increase would be on middle-class families. As we have seen, tax reform has been a resounding success, with four percent unemployment and nearly 4.1 percent GDP growth in the last quarter.
Right after Congresswoman Pelosi made the statement that taxes would increase on all American families, the Washington Post fact-checked the Democrat claims, giving them four Pinocchios, as 80 percent of middle-class families are paying less in taxes. In other words, 80 percent of middle-class families are paying less in taxes now than they were. Yet she was saying that taxes on all middle-class families were going to have to increase.
You hear these things—they can’t look at success and see what is happening and really appreciate it without rousing everyone on the other side with extreme accusations. With every Executive Order and Congressional Review Act resolution that rolled back regulation after burdensome regulation, we heard that the end of days were coming.
Let’s pause here for a minute and see how you get rid of some of these regulations. There are two ways of getting rid of regulations. One is you do it with an Executive Order. Sometimes that doesn’t work. You can’t use an Executive Order in certain types of regulation, so you have to go with the Congressional Review Act.
It is kind of interesting because we started the Congressional Review Act over 20 years ago. Prior to this administration, it had been used successfully only once in 20 years; now it happens almost every day. With every Executive Order and Congressional Review Act resolution rolling back the regulations, we heard that the end of the world was coming. You would not know it if you looked at the economy and see the increases in energy production, manufacturing, consumer confidence, GDP, and job opportunities.
Meanwhile, jobless claims have dropped to a 45-year low—a 45-year low of jobless claims this year—and the Social Security disability claims last year were the lowest we have seen since 2002.
I think it is kind of interesting to go back and look at the fact that we have four percent unemployment. For as long as I can remember, I have always considered four percent unemployment is full employment. There are always going to be some unemployables, but four percent is considered to be full employment, and that is what we have.
It is kind of interesting. I was in Texas last week, talking to one of my liberal friends down there. I was talking about “What can you say now? Look at the economy. The economy has never been better.”
He said, “No, the economy is bad. It is hard to find anyone to work in restaurants anymore.”
In other words, we have full employment, but that is supposed to be bad. That is the position we are in right now.
In the last quarter, we had 4.1 percent growth in the economy in the last quarter. Let’s stop and think about that. This is something that no one disagrees with. For every one percent growth in economic activity, that translates into $2.9 trillion of new income coming into the Federal Government every ten years.
Let’s stop and think about it. We have a President who is trying to undo the damage from the last administration when the military was cut down to the bone and we didn’t do anything in the way of infrastructure. This President is committed to that.
People are saying “All right, where is the money going to come from?” There is where it is going to come from. My gosh, if we can average just three percent growth—and we have been doing that; we are far exceeding that—that is going to be close to $6 trillion of new funding that will be there for the next administration.
With each action the President takes, we hear that the consequences are going to be dire and that people will die. It is always that people will die. Yet those predictions have never materialized. We have seen the opposite happen.
On Judge Kavanaugh:
When it comes to President Trump’s pick to replace Justice Kennedy on the Supreme Court, the predictions are just as hysterical. If there is not any logical reason to be against something, they just start name-calling. That is what has been happening.
In a recent speech, Hillary Clinton worried that with the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Republicans ‘‘want to turn the clock back . . . to the 1850s.’’ That came from Hillary Clinton. Her meaning was very clear. She wants people to believe that Judge Kavanaugh and the Republicans are taking the country back to the days of slavery, despite no evidence to back up this reckless claim. In fact, Republicans want more freedom, not less.
Others are equally as bold in their predictions in saying that his confirmation will be the death—listen to this—the death of millions, that his confirmation will be the destruction of the Constitution, and that his confirmation will usher in the end of civil rights in America and make us complicit in evil. In other words, it will be the death of millions of Americans. Who, logically, can even look at that without smiling and saying that they have to be totally desperate in the accusations they are making on this guy? All of these baseless and extreme attacks on his nomination mean just one thing—that Brett Kavanaugh is an excellent pick for the Supreme Court.
After meeting with him last week, looking into his record and reading about his character—some of the stories that I have heard from other people—it is clear that he is a solid choice to become our newest Supreme Court Justice. With 12 years on the DC Court of Appeals, Judge Kavanaugh has amassed a record of over 300 opinions, and the worst opposition research we have seen against him so far is that he charged baseball tickets to his credit card and then paid for them.
By all accounts, from those who know him, Brett Kavanaugh is a respected member of his community and of his profession. Professionally, he is known as a serious jurist who studies the law and is evenhanded in applying the law.
In his op-ed for the New York Times, entitled ‘‘A Liberal’s Case for Brett Kavanaugh,’’ Yale Law professor Akhil Reed Amar made this statement: ‘‘Good appellate judges faithfully follow the Supreme Court; great ones influence and help steer it.’’ He was referring to Judge Kavanaugh. By this measure, Judge Kavanaugh has been a great appellate judge.
He ranks second among the current judges who have law clerks who have gone on to clerk for the U.S. Supreme Court. More impressively, the Supreme Court has agreed with the positions that Judge Kavanaugh has made in his last 13 of his opinions, adopting his logic in the prevailing opinion before the Court. In other words, they came down on his side in the cases that he had made in the last 13 of his opinions. Nine of those times, the Supreme Court adopted his dissenting opinion as their majority opinion. In fact, he has only been reversed by the Supreme Court just once and only in part.
Of those dissenting opinions by Judge Kavanaugh that the Supreme Court adopted as their own, one of them includes his dissent in Coalition for Responsible Regulation v. EPA, in which he concluded that the EPA defined ‘‘air pollution’’ too broadly in its regulations on greenhouse gas emissions. He viewed the Obama EPA’s burdensome greenhouse gas regulations for power plants as exceeding its authority and argued that the courts should ‘‘not lightly conclude that Congress intended’’ to ‘‘impose the enormous costs on tens of thousands of American businesses, with corresponding effects on American jobs and workers.’’ Again, the Supreme Court agreed with him. They were on his side.
This opinion is also instructive to see his thinking on the proper role of the courts in our system of government. In his opinion, he wrote: “As a court, it is not our job to make the policy choices and set the statutory boundaries, but it is emphatically our job to carefully but firmly enforce the statutory boundaries.” This is a consistent part of his jurisprudence.
Because of his position on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, Kavanaugh has had many opportunities to check the Federal Government’s overreach. I served as chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee for quite a number of years, and one of the big problems we had at that time was that the bureaucrats were actually making the determinations. This is something that he has actually overruled the bureaucracy many times. In fact, he has overruled Federal agency actions 75 times in his 12 years on the bench. That is really saying something.
When the EPA wanted to impose massive emissions regulations but did not want to consider the costs, Judge Kavanaugh rejected that effort in White Stallion Energy Center v. EPA. The Supreme Court agreed.
In the case of EME Homer City Generation v. EPA, Judge Kavanaugh held that the Obama EPA’s cross-state air pollution rule was awful and imposed excessive regulatory burdens on the States.
He also rejected the Department of the Interior’s position to designate 143 acres of plaintiff’s property as critical habitat for a shrimp based ‘‘on a single 2001 sighting of four ant-sized San Diego fairy shrimp’’ on the property. They would shut that down. He reversed it.
These are just a few examples of Judge Kavanaugh’s efforts to ensure that our agencies are acting and regulating within their authorizing statutes and the U.S. Constitution.
This is the real reason we are seeing such vitriol from the left. They have long used our courts and our agencies to impose their unpopular agenda, mostly because they couldn’t get it through Congress, as the majority of Americans recognized how stifling and burdensome their agenda is.
Having another judge on the Supreme Court who recognizes the proper role of the courts and the agencies when it comes to setting policy that affects all Americans threatens their ability to force costly, ineffective, unpopular burdens on our economy, our job producers, and our landowners. With Judge Kavanaugh on the court, we will preserve the U.S. Constitution and our system of representative government for decades to come.
As I told Brett in our meeting—he has been good enough to go around and have meetings with all of the Members of the Senate. As a matter of fact, I told him that, from his reputation, he didn’t need to waste his time with me because I knew all about him, and I was going to support him. As I told him during that meeting, though, his nomination and the work President Trump and the Senate have done to process judicial nominations are to save our country, not for me but for my 20 kids and grandkids.
So I look forward to the confirmation. We are going to hear more of the accusations, more of the extreme left making comments about this great judicial success. I look forward to having him there for many years to come. I am convinced that it is going to happen. With that, I yield the floor.
Sen. Inhofe praised President Trump’s nomination of Judge Kavanaugh on July 9, 2018. Link here.