Sunday, April 11, 2021

Scalia's "Who Decides?" in Wisconsin

This case may be very significant, not only in Wisconsin, but nationally.  Antonin Scalia summarized the case with his famous "Who decides?" question, and that's the focus here.

...The case involving Kinnard Farms, a Kewaunee County mega-dairy farm with about 8,200 cows, has become a regulatory battleground, drawing a litany of environmental and industrial groups in support or opposition to the lawsuit. The GOP-controlled state Legislature even petitioned the court to intervene on behalf of the owners of Kinnard Farms, which the justices allowed. 

Much of the debate focuses on legal interpretations of 2011 Act 21, which Kinnard Farms and its advocates argue limits agency powers to what is explicitly written in statute, leaving little wiggle room for interpretation. Those parties argue that the DNR lacks authority to cap Kinnard’s animal population and require groundwater monitoring off-site — conditions ordered by lower courts. ...

The Wisconsin Legislature (read:  Republicans) are active here, claiming that Act 21 governs DNR activity, while the usual gaggle of environmental groups argue that The Regulators have the authority to do what they want.

...Midwest Environmental Advocates says the court ruling could affect not just the DNR’s authority but “may have far-reaching implications for other state agencies,” Adopting the industry’s view of Act 21, the environmental groups argue, “would create widespread uncertainty about agency authority.”...

Yes, indeed.  

Why is this meaningful?  Because the Wisconsin Legislature is arguing--in effect--that IT must be held responsible for certain decisions, and that changing the law is the remedy, not imposing "regulatory law."

That's not normal for legislators, who typically evade responsibility for everything by shoving decisions and enforcement down to UN-elected regulatory entities.

This will be interesting.

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