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The Justices Send a Message to Congress

It’s tempting to view Thursday’s Supreme Court decision to rein in the Environmental Protection Agency’s climate authority as a missile aimed solely at the bureaucratic swamp. It’s just as much a swipe at that bureaucracy’s enabler: the feckless U.S. Congress.

Sweep away the opinion’s numbing technical descriptions, and the ruling is a joy to read. The six conservatives on the court, in an opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts, have officially declared the “major questions doctrine”—a concept that has appeared in a handful of past court decisions—to be a living, breathing principle. The federal bureaucracy is no longer allowed to impose programs of major “economic and political significance” on the country absent “clear congressional authorization.” Hallelujah.

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