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Mother Nature vs. SCOTUS: CO2 and the Supreme Power of sovereignty

Written By | Jul 31, 2019
Supreme Court, SCOTUS, O,xymoron, Law, LawlessnessSupreme Court, SCOTUS, Robo Calls, Electoral College, sovereignty, CO2, SCOTUS

Lady Justice at sunset, U.S. Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C. (2005 Flickr image by Michael Galkovsky, CC 2.0 license- https://www.flickr.com/photos/mindgutter/5697895/in/photolist-vcMz-vcMJ-vcMP)

WASHINGTON: Sir William Blackstone defines sovereignty as “supreme power.” This power is unitary. It cannot be shared or limited in any way. Thus, “quasi sovereignty” cannot exist. The Supreme Court ruled in Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency (2007) that carbon dioxide is an air pollutant under the Clean Air Act. The result of that 5-4 ruling was that the EPA could be sued by the states for not controlling CO2 emissions.

A question of sovereignty

The states, according to the court, have “quasi-sovereignty.”

This is a suit by a State for an injury to it in its capacity of quasi-sovereign. In that capacity, the State has an interest independent of and behind the titles of its citizens, in all the earth and air within its domain. It has the last word as to whether its mountains shall be stripped of their forests and its inhabitants shall breathe pure air.” (John Paul Stevens writing for majority).

California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington argued to compel EPA action against CO2 emissions.




So what do sovereignty, quasi sovereignty, and pollution control have in common?

There is no question to either progressives or neoconservatives that sovereignty belongs to the national government—not to be confused with a federal government, which no longer exits. The sovereign states, they contend, had sovereignty removed in 1787 and that same sovereignty rests with the “nation.”


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However, the Supreme Court says that states have quasi-sovereignty. So, what can go wrong, apart from Blackstone’s denial of such a thing and the modern view of a sovereign nation?

“Quasi” means “pseudo”, “mock”, “wannabe” or “virtual”. The states thus have the quasi sovereignty to accept the rules set down by the fully sovereign national government. These rules are set by the nine lawyers collectively referred to as SCOTUS.

Moreover, in the case of Massachusetts v. EPA, these states have been told that they may sue the EPA for not protecting them from carbon dioxide by controlling artificial emissions. This is because of their quasi sovereignty. They need permission from the national government, and the Supreme Court has granted it.

Why do these people in black robes make up such nonsense as “quasi sovereignty”?

It is anybody’s guess, though only a few are allowed in the politically correct world to comment. In that world, “anybody’s guess” leads to inanity like the right to kill (Roe v. Wade) or men marrying men (Obergefell v. Hodges).

Breathing produces CO2.

Other sources do as well. And among them, natural sources account for over 97 percent of annual CO2 emissions. Can one state in its quasi sovereignty demand that breathing is reduced in other states? After all, CO2, a gas, can drift willy-nilly from state to state. How do human CO2 emissions compare to natural CO2 emissions? That question, it seems, is irrelevant to the court.

What might states do with this quasi sovereignty? Might the quasi-sovereign states of Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and North Dakota decide they want more atmospheric carbon dioxide? Should they not have the right to sue the EPA to ensure respect of their own quasi sovereignty is respected


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If SCOTUS is to be fair, each state must remain in the national government while at the same time maintaining its quasi sovereignty. And the court must allow the reduction of CO2 in some states while increasing it in others, even though atmospheric dynamics ensure that this is impossible.

The Supreme Court stands in opposition to nature if it allows the quasi-sovereign states to pursue their own standards, not of CO2 emissions, but of atmospheric CO2 concentrations. The Court stands in opposition to fairness if it allows states to sue the EPA to require lower emissions standards, but not to sue the EPA to raise those standards.



Quasi sovereignty is quasi justice whose motivation is quasi science.

Paul H. Yarbrough

Born in Mississippi, now calling Texas home, Paul H. Yarbrough is bringing his writing talents to the political arena. Yarbrough has completed three novels. He is also the humorist behind the weekly column, Redneck Diary.