McCONNELL: Courts Slap Down Democrats' Lawless Power Grabs

McConnell Mitch

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 13, 2022) – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the Supreme Court:

"This week, I've been discussing the historic term the Supreme Court just concluded — the most consequential and pro-Constitution term since Brown overturned Plessy almost 70 years ago.

"Back in 2015, in one fell swoop, the Obama-Biden Administration took aim at domestic energy production, harmed the separation of powers, and attacked the rule of law.

"Remember, after Americans elected Republicans in 2010 to place a check on the left-wing agenda, President Obama infamously said he would just ignore the will of the people and work around Congress. 'I've got a pen, and I've got a phone.'

"Thus began a whole series of unconstitutional power grabs by the executive branch. A sort of crime spree against the Constitution. 

"For example, when Democrats could not get harmful and unpopular environmental restrictions through Congress — because the people's duly elected representatives did not support them — the bureaucrats at the Obama EPA decided to pretend that some obscure lines in an old law actually gave them enormous sweeping regulatory powers to manage our economy which nobody had ever noticed before.

"The EPA effectively wrote and passed a giant piece of legislation, the so-called 'Clean Power Plan,' as one branch of government acting alone. They tried to make law without involving the actual lawmakers.

"The Obama EPA just up and decided they could start giving orders and issuing edicts and remake our country's electricity grid by brute force.

"Of course, that pretext was simply false.

"As Justice Scalia once wrote, 'Congress . . . does not alter the fundamental details of a regulatory scheme in vague terms or ancillary provisions—it does not, one might say, hide elephants in mouseholes.'

"When the legislative branch actually intends to hand over giant chunks of our power to unelected bureaucrats, we make it pretty darn clear. The Obama-Biden EPA had no lawful authority to grab control of electricity generation across America.

"And that is exactly what the Supreme Court affirmed last month.

"The ruling was a huge win for American ratepayers and anybody who wants affordable and reliable energy. But it was also a landmark legal victory for our very system of government.

"The Supreme Court applied the plain text of the law and reaffirmed that the unelected administrative state is not allowed to reach way beyond the powers that Congress has actually given it.

"With any luck, this will be part of a sea change that's been a long a time coming.

"Remember, a few months ago, a young district judge in Florida applied the plain, straightforward text of a statute and overturned the Administration's illegal and unilateral mask mandate for public transportation.

"That was the Centers for Disease Control stepping way over its boundaries.

"And this past January, the Supreme Court put the brakes on President Biden's blatantly illegal attempt to have the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, force 84 million American workers to get the COVID vaccine whether they wanted it or not.

"As Justice Gorsuch wrote in concurrence back then: 'The central question we face today is: Who decides?' 'The only question is whether an administrative agency in Washington... charged with overseeing workplace safety may mandate the vaccination or regular testing of 84 million people...

"'Or whether... that work belongs to state and local governments across the country and the people's elected representatives in Congress.'

"On issue after issue, our courts are beginning to answer that question the way the Constitution commands. Who decides? The people decide. And the members of Congress they elect."

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