A surprise in the presidential debate

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In a 90-minute insult, a controversy filled with insults that only occasionally turns into elaborate policy specifics, Chris Wallace, the moderator of Tuesday night’s presidential debate, surprises: about 10 minutes of pointed questions on a topic , Which has almost never been addressed in any general presidential debate.

Climate change was also not on the menu. Mr. Wallace did not include it in the list of topics to be discussed.

This fact has long been viewed by political campaigns as a reflection of the notion that climate change is a second-tier issue, which is a concern for niche environmentalists but not for the general public or critical swing-state voters who The President decides the election.

The perception seems to have changed.

“Climate change is usually an orphan issue,” said Douglas Brinkley, a professor of history at Rice University. “The fact that it woke up last night is showing that it is beginning to gain some of the national stature it deserves and is no longer just a Democratic left concern.”

The questions Mr. Wallace asked were specific and specific, although the answers were few. He pressured Mr. Trump to publicly state his specific view on whether humans contribute to climate change, to which he responded: “A lot of things do. To an extent, yes. “

Mr Trump, as he has previously stated, spoke about his desire for “crystal clean air and water”, while failing to reconcile with his administration the rollback of more than 100 environmental regulations, many The aim is to protect clean air and water.

Mr. Biden sought to portray himself as the champion of renewable energy, while at the same time attempting to distance himself from the Green New Deal, even though that proposal led to his widespread spending of $ 2 trillion on green initiatives The plan is likely to get little traction in Congress, an idea reported.

“While it was great that climate change was raised, it was corrupted by insult-hysteria, with various types of ricochetting everywhere and the public could not clearly see how we attacked this crisis. Going to do, “Dr. Brinkley said.

“But this is a good opportunity for moderates to prepare for the next two debates, so that they can calm down and get more consistent answers about climate change.”

President Trump has nominated Judge Amy Connie Barrett to replace Justice Ruth Beder Ginsburg in the Supreme Court, and if the Senate confirmed him, it would mean a conservative supremacy of six Justice on the court. Efforts by the government and environmental activists to fight climate change and clean up the environment can be greatly weakened, legal experts told me this week.

Judge Barrett, currently serving in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, has not written critical opinions on environmental matters that reveal his views, but “given that he is a very conservative tradition.” , And calls herself Scalia Tolly, “looks like we can safely assume she’s not the quickest judge on the environment,” said Ann Carlson, Emmet Institute on Climate Change and UCLA School of Law Is the director of the environment.

Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in 2016, was a deeply conservative voice in court for three decades. Judge Barrett served as his law clerks. He is a prominent member of the Federalist Society, a legal group that opposes what he considers to be a regulatory takeover and is a good thing for conservative judges.

Professor Carlson suggested that Judge Barrett, if promoted in court, would follow Justice Scalia’s lead in narrowly interpreting the powers of the Environmental Protection Agency. If former Vice President Joseph R. When Biden Jr. wins the presidential election in November and tries to aggressively use the powers of the Environment Agency with new rules, he said, “He could face headwinds in the Supreme Court.”

Along those lines, Justice Barrett may also join conservative members of the court, who have indicated that they may seek to revive, known as the nondelegation doctrine, a doctrine on constitutional severance of powers States that Congress should not be too much in executing regulatory agencies policies. The doctrine has not been used since the 1930s to strike a statute or regulation, but “if you have six votes, I think it increases the probability” is the possibility of its revival, Professor Carlson said.

Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School, said that if that doctrine was revived, Congress would have to draft legislation with very specific instructions for agencies. “It’s very unfortunate,” he said. “The more specific you get, the less you can deal with unexpected situations” like an evolving understanding of environmental hazards.

Professor Carlson suggested that Judge Barrett also showed skepticism by environmental groups about a key element of the suit: standing to sue. Permanent rules could be formed about who could bring a lawsuit, and Justice Scalia had long worked to narrow rules that could limit courts’ access to environmental groups. He called her “a pet project”. A scallia acolyte may try to continue that work.

Nevertheless, Professor Gerrard said, Massachusetts e. Not expecting to see a major majority tradition like the EPA, which gave the Environment Agency the power to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. Instead, he suggested, “attacks on environmental regulations from many angles” could weaken the law without violating a comprehensive ruling.

“It’s like a flock of duck beak on a small animal,” he said. “They may not kill it, but they abandon it and bleed.”

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