“Kookinelli” – Virginia’s Embarrassment


    Here he goes again. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli vows once more to sue the federal government. Now, he is challenging  the Obama administration and Environmental Protection Agency’s new fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks.

    Cuccinelli has already filed suit against the EPA’s determination that it can regulate greenhouse gases because they cause global warming and are harmful to human health. A Cuccinelli  spokesman said the EPA’s announcement of fuel efficiency standards amounts to a “tacit denial” of Cooch’s insistence that the EPA reconsider its greenhouse gases determination.

    Well, duh…Of course it does.

    “The attorney general’s office asked the EPA to reopen its proceedings in light of the recent evidence that the reports the EPA was relying on for its decision contained erroneous and/or unverifiable global temperature and other data,” said spokesman Brian Gottstein. “We will file a notice of appeal with respect to today’s ruling [regarding mileage standards].”

    This man elected as attorney general is becoming an ever-growing embarrassment for the Commonwealth. Cuccinelli needs to realize he is living in the 21st century, not in antebellum Virginia. Listen up, Cooch: The Confederacy lost the Civil War…Nullification and interposition are dead concepts, buried once and for all at Appomattox.

    (Interposition is the act of a state opposing any federal action it believes encroaches on “states’ rights.”)

    For anyone who thinks that this latest far-right outbreak of “states’ rights” absurd, sometimes dangerous, hatred for our 44th President has nothing to do with racism would do well to remember the last time “nullification and interposition” became a rallying cry of the far right in Virginia: the attempts in the 1950’s and 1960’s to integrate Southern schools.

    At that time, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Virginia adopted resolutions of “interposition and nullification,” saying that they had a legal right to oppose Brown v Board of Education and could, therefore, not  desegregate public schools. Virginia even used “massive resistance” to close schools where desegregation was scheduled, thus disrupting public education in several school districts. White students attended racist “academies” that were set up, while Black students were without any recourse for education.

    Now, here we are in 2010 with Cooch echoing that dismal part of Virginia history by using “interposition and nullification” to try to refuse individual participation mandates in the new health care reform law, insisting that the passage of a bill by the General Assembly is sufficient grounds to do so, i.e., interposition.

    As for his silly “interposition” of himself into EPA greenhouse gas emission regulations, Cooch is ignoring the impact of a ruling by the Supreme Court on that very issue.

    In 2007 the court ruled that the EPA did have the right to regulate emissions of greenhouse gases. Cooch is tilting at the tiny windmill the court threw into that decision, when it said that it was not blocking states from suing the EPA to challenge such regulation.

    To me, the most interesting part of that ruling is that the court was rejecting the Bush administration’s refusal to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. The Court said the EPA under Bush had simply provided a “laundry list” of reasons not to regulate such emissions. It had not tied its rationale to the Clean Air Act. The Court said that the “EPA has offered no reasoned explanation for its refusal to decide whether greenhouse gases cause or contribute to climate change.”

    Cooch needs to realize that the Supreme Court in 2007 had the same basic composition of  “liberal” v “conservative” justices as the present court. Justice John Paul Stevens wrote the majority opinion, which Justices Kennedy, Souter, Ginsburg and Breyer joined. While Justice Sotomayor has replaced Justice Souter, she surely would rule the way he did.

    Even the radical conservative wing of the court did not take a position on global warming. Chief Justice John Roberts, joined by Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito, said in his dissent that his conclusion “involves no judgment on whether global warming exists, what causes it, or the extent of the problem.”

    Cooch also might want to consider the fact that a British House of Commons investigation into some emails that are at the heart of climate change deniers insistence that data was being rigged has exonerated anyone from such an action. The investigative report also said that nothing in the more than 1,000 e-mails of scientists that were stolen and released challenges scientific consensus that “global warming is happening and that it is induced by human activity.”

    Those emails are at the heart of Cooch’s whole argument. Oh, I know nothing will change the Cooch’s mind. After all, it’s obvious that he thinks that he – like Gov. McDonnell’s mentor Pat Robertson – has the ear of the Almighty, thus making him immune to mistakes.

    It’s going to be a very long four years, folks.


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