An Appeals Court just told the administration that it has to follow the rules.
By a 2-1 vote, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ordered the commission to complete the licensing process and approve or reject the Energy Department’s application for a never-completed waste storage site at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain.
In a sharply worded opinion, the court said the nuclear agency was “simply flouting the law” when it allowed the Obama administration to continue plans to close the proposed waste site 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas. The action goes against a federal law designating Yucca Mountain as the nation’s nuclear waste repository.
“The president may not decline to follow a statutory mandate or prohibition simply because of policy objections,” Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh wrote in a majority opinion, which was joined Judge A. Raymond Randolph. Chief Judge Merrick B. Garland dissented.
This is not about Yucca Mountain. Yucca Mountain won’t go forward, because Congress won’t fund it. The court knows this.
The court also knows that this is hardly the only instance where the White House has decided that it can ignore the law if it doesn’t like it.
Most obviously, the White House has decided that if there are parts of Obamacare it has policy agreements with, it can just ignore them and issue “waivers.” This court just told them that they can’t do that.
Just this week, the DOJ has decided that, despite Congress’ will for minimum sentencing being the law, that it would no longer provide the necessary information to the courts. This court just told them that they can’t do that.
Because Obama has policy differences with the Keystone XL pipeline, he has simply been withholding a decision on its approval. That is exactly the situation in the Yucca Mountain case. This court just told them that they can’t do that.
Because Obama has policy differences with Congress’ immigration laws, he’s decided that he can just ignore them. Never mind that his own Immigration agents have already successfully sued him over the same issues and he lost. This court just told him again that they can’t do that.
We have a policy that says that we don’t send military aid to countries that have been taken over in coups. In light of that, Obama refuses to call Egypt’s coup a coup. This court just told them that they can’t do that.
This case wasn’t about Yucca Mountain. This case was the warning shot about the way that this administration does everything.
You can’t do that.