Murky Air | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Murky Air 

Also: Not Our Law, Constitution Criers

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Murky Air
On a chilly October day, The Salt Lake Tribune reported on three air quality initiatives. One story talked about a National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration study that showed ozone being formed in the Uinta Basin. The EPA blamed oil & gas development for the high concentrations. Another story highlighted the Division of Air Quality's decision to just leave coal-burning power plants alone because more controls would cost too much. A final story reiterated the governor's don't-get-tough policy, encouraging less driving, cleaner-burning cars and cutting back on burning wood during inversions. These are good suggestions with no teeth, and continue to place the onus on individuals while giving a pass to industry.

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Not Our Law
Here we go again, calling for a Constitutional convention. Utah has passed resolutions in the past, hoping against hope that the state can just nullify laws by what some call a fourth branch of government. The Tea Party wants to overturn ObamaCare and Roe v. Wade, while the left wants to get rid of the despised Citizens United ruling. The latest effort comes from Reps. Brian Greene, R-Pleasant Grove, and Marc Roberts, R-Santaquin. Greene once wanted to make it a felony for a federal officer to enforce gun laws in Utah. Now, according to Utah Political Capitol, he wants to have legislators from each state vote equally to overturn federal laws and rulings. This could really confuse the so-called law of the land.

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Constitution Criers
Are we bad losers or what? Utah Sen. Mike Lee and his buddy Sen. Ted Cruz seem to think the Supreme Court is in bed with Obama. "By refusing to rule if the states can define marriage, the Supreme Court is abdicating its duty to uphold the Constitution," Cruz told Politico. And Lee thinks they're a bunch of unelected judges who shouldn't be allowed to overturn state laws. They believe the high court is undermining "the constitutional authority of each state to define marriage consistent with the values of its citizens." The ongoing debate is between constitutional and democratic legitimacy, and opponents like to say Brown v. Board was judicial activism, whether right or not. But ultimately, you have to look at competing constitutional rights, and it looks like equal protection principles won out. That Cruz and Lee now want to amend the Constitution speaks more to hubris than legality.

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About The Author

Katharine Biele

Katharine Biele

A City Weekly contributor since 1992, Biele is the informed voice behind our Hits & Misses and Citizen Revolt columns. When not writing, you can catch her working to empower voters and defend democracy alongside the League of Women Voters.

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