The Road from Massachusetts v. EPA: Through the Looking Glass to Lawless Climate Change Regulation
UVA Law Faculty Affiliations
In Lewis Carroll’s Through a Looking Glass (the sequel to Alice in Wonderland), Alice and Humpty Dumpty have the following conversation:
“When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’ ’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’ ’The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.”
Humpty Dumpty’s bizarre conception of language – that language does not constrain him, and that his own desires determine the meaning of words -- is in fact precisely the conception of the meaning of words that has been adopted by the Obama EPA in deciding that the federal Clean Air Act authorizes federal regulations mandating greenhouse gas emission reductions. Mr. Obama and his EPA, not Congress, not the American people, are the master legislators of meaning.