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More Harm Than Good

When David Prowse was hired to play Darth Vader for the first Star Wars movie, he prepared and spoke all of Darth Vader’s lines through the mouth of the suit. It wasn’t until he saw the first screening of the movie, that he learned that all of his lines had been dubbed over by the voice of James Earl Jones.

As we approach President Trump’s Thursday announcement of his Supreme Court nominee, I am reminded of David Prowse in that suit. Trump has stated that he will nominate someone “Like Justice Scalia”. Reportedly, Trump has narrowed down to three possible individuals. (here) If you scan those candidates, you might think like me and wonder “who is going to wear the ‘Scalia suit’?”.

Which brings me to one possible curious obstacle to President Trump’s wall building along the Mexican border. It comes from a majority opinion that Scalia wrote in 2015. (From the Opinion Pages of the NY Times)

Before the Supreme Court, an issue involving the Clean Air Act and whether the Environmental Protection Agency was correct in enforcing a provision to limit mercury emissions from power plants. And more specifically, whether such enforcement should balance the costs of enforcement to the power plants.

Scalia wrote that the EPA must consider the costs in such enforcement and that “No regulation is appropriate if it does significantly more harm than good”. The Secure Fence Act authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security to take actions to enforce our borders when such actions are “necessary and appropriate”.

Now, this gives us a possible showdown at high noon, sometime in the future. The next Supreme Court Justice will be part of the Court who is expected to be faced with some case involving the”Trump Wall”. Will Scalia’s 2015 reasoning be the Court’s guide? Will the expense of the wall (15-25 billion) not be justified because of the amount of illegal immigrants still entering the U.S.? The cost will be do harm than good?

And for pic o’ day, “On the fence”:



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