High Court

Nominee is no friend of EPA bureaucrats

West Virginians have a three-letter reason for liking Judge Brett Kavanaugh, nominated by President Donald Trump for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court: EPA.

Many Americans have been encouraged to believe that we here in coal country somehow hate clean air, water and soil. Nothing could be further from the truth, of course. If anything, many in our region revere the natural world more deeply than do some of our urban critics.

Analysts say Kavanaugh shares our concern for the environment. But he also understands why the Environmental Protection Agency’s draconian regulatory policy is wrong.

Kavanaugh has served for 12 years as a judge on the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. That court often is thought of as the second most-powerful in the land, behind only the Supreme Court, because Kavanaugh and his peers are called upon frequently to decide cases involving the federal government.

Those who have read his statement Monday night after being announced as the Supreme Court nominee may have gotten a hint of Kavanaugh’s philosophy. It is that the Constitution’s plain language needs to be upheld, not amended by judges and justices interested in pursuing their own agendas.

That makes Kavanaugh an enemy of “the swamp” — Trump’s term for the federal bureaucracy.

His actions on the court of appeals have made it clear that while he is no enemy of protecting the environment, he is no friend of EPA bureaucrats seeking to expand their power over Americans.

One 2012 case is illuminating. In it, a majority of D.C. appeals court judges voted in favor of the EPA in enforcement of greenhouse gas regulations. Kavanaugh dissented.

He warned that the EPA had “exceeded its statutory authority” in going beyond what Congress had authorized. “As a court, it is not our job to make policy choices,” Kavanaugh wrote.

That sort of attitude will be music to the ears of many West Virginians and Ohioans, sick of EPA overreach and disregard for our welfare.

Kavanaugh’s philosophy of rejecting the bureaucracy’s power grabs and insisting it operate according to the Constitution appear to make him well suited to a seat on the Supreme Court. It is reason enough for all four senators from our states — Democrats Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Sherrod Brown of Ohio as well as Republicans Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Rob Portman of Ohio — to vote to confirm the nomination.