The Supreme Court Just Dealt a Major Blow to the Green Left—and a Major Win for Democracy

The Supreme Court has handed down another win for skeptics of progressive overreach. On Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency does not have the authority to set national energy policy and regulate carbon emissions from power plants. The ruling was a blow to the Biden Administration, which has pursued an aggressive clean energy agenda. But it was a win for democracy—as well as for a politically sustainable approach to climate change.

You won't hear much about that in the mainstream press. Expect instead an endless litany of hysteria about our dying planet and the right-wing plot to accelerate the end of the natural world. "Run out of words to describe this court, but, among other things, it's now a threat to the planet," tweeted MSNBC host Chris Hayes in a typical missive.

Yet the issue here is not really environmental; it's fundamentally political. The new Court may be too doctrinaire in its states' rights approach, as we have seen in the sweeping Roe and gun decision, but so far it has hewn to an important principle: Major policies should have approval from elected representatives rather than being handed down from the bureaucratic Olympus.

This was the Supreme Court's primary objection to the Obama-era limitations on power plants: These limitations were never passed by Congress but imposed by decree. In this, SCOTUS identified a frightening trend that has been building for decades under both parties, and has worked to overcome it; what kind of policies we enact, and how draconian they should be, should be left to the people's representatives, the Court has ruled. Our legislative electeds may not always be the brightest bulbs, but that hardly matters. What matters is that they are accountable to us.

This is not how many in the green movement wanted things to shake out. Their modus operandi is to couple relentless exaggeration and predictions of imminent doom with a barely disguised desire to exercise direct, unconstrained control over the everyday lives of citizens, much like the medieval Catholic Church, or Stalin. Indeed, for some of the Green New folks, the draconian lockdowns from the pandemic were not so much a tragedy but a a "test run" for the kind of rule by a global technocracy that some progressive pundits now seek to impose.

Read the rest of this piece at Newsweek.

Joel Kotkin is the author of The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class. He is the Roger Hobbs Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and Executive Director for Urban Reform Institute. Learn more at and follow him on Twitter @joelkotkin.