It’s The Rule of Law, Stupid

Remember the Clinton campaign slogan, “It’s the economy, stupid.” The above title will never see the light of day in the House hearing of EPA Director Scott Pruitt any more than it did with the leftist ideologues who attempted to derail his nomination in his Senate confirmation hearings.

Director Pruitt’s core belief, a new revelation to the EPA, mandates that “the rule of law requires the EPA to act only within the confines of the statutory authority that Congress has conferred on the Agency.” [i]

Importance of Process

Scott Pruitt further emphasizes the relevance of the Administrative Procedures Act, enacted by Congress, which gives public notice of a potential agency action. “Allowing affected parties to voice input of associated issues insures predictability for all stakeholders, while increasing the defensibility of a procedural challenge.”[ii]

Embracing Cooperative Federalism

As the former Attorney General of Oklahoma, Director Pruitt knows the importance of environmental statutes that empower states to serve as stewards of their lands. The EPA, working cooperatively with the states to encourage regulations instead of compelling them undergirds the respect of the separation of powers. In Federalist 51 James Madison wrote, “it is of great importance in a republic to not only guard the society against the oppression of its rulers but to guard one part of society against the injustice of the other part.”[iii]

 No Compromise

Pruitt’s commitment to the rule of law is echoed in his speech at Hillsdale College, which lauded Justice Antonin Scalia’s principles of jurisprudence as follows:

  1. Textualism – “The law, whether statues or the Constitution must be applied according to its text. Judges should not apply law on what they suppose Congress may have intended.” [iv]
  2. Originalism –"Justice Scalia believed that the words of the law should be understood as they were understood by the people when the law was enacted.”[v]
  3. “Unwavering respect for the idea of popular government. Laws, including the Constitution, get their legitimacy from the people. The Constitution is not an evolving document that grants new “rights” and obligations to which people have not given their consent.”[vi]
  4. “Rights actually guaranteed in the Constitution should be tenaciously defended.”[vii]

Scalia recognized the Constitution’s protection of liberty as it balances and checks power between branches and divisions of power between the federal government and the states.[viii] Just as Justice Scalia rejected judicial activism of inventing laws, Director Pruitt rejects the culture he inherited from a rogue agency that routinely usurped the rule of law, impaled private property rights, and decimated employment and unfavored industries through totalitarian tactics, assisted by an activist court.

New Sheriff

The Sierra Club, and Earth Works, are hereby put on notice: There is a new sheriff in town and he is a straight shooter.


[i] Scott Pruitt Memorandum to EPA Administrators & Office of General Counsel,” Adhering to The Fundamental Principles of Due Process Rule of Law, and Cooperative Federalism in Consent Decrees and Settlement Agreements, October 16, 2017, Page 1

[ii] Ibid, Page 2

[iii] Ibid, Page 5

[iv] Scott Pruitt, Imprimis July /August 2016 Volume 45, Number7/8 “The Next Supreme Court Justice”, Page 1

[v] Ibid Page 2

[vi] Ibid

[vii] Ibid

[viii] Ibid

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