'When Public Health Meets Market Forces'
'John Rapanos and the Kitchen Sink'
The main goals of the articles “When Public Health Meets Market Forces “and “John Rapanos and the Kitchen Sink” are both simply to enforce what is right. However, the idea of what is considered right and wrong have two major components in which these two articles focus on. The legal justification of right is the main focus of the Public Health article while the ethical justification of right is strongly voiced in the Kitchen Sink article.
The fundamental idea reflected by the Public Health article is to stress the importance of the fundamental commerce clause’s ability to protect “all interstate and intrastate waters and bodies of land.” If this case is lost, the foundation of laws such as the Clean Water Act will began to weaken—thus, the security of public welfare may become unstable. The voice of this article seems to imply that if this single instant of weakness is shown in regards to the commerce clause will definitely reverse the progress made towards the stability of the environment.
In respect to the Tragedy of the Commons, the argument of the Public Health article is best described by the Pollution section. According to this section, society is “locked into a system of fouling our own nest”. This view reflect the actions that caused such laws to be established—if left to only the population’s control, eventually our environment would be primarily composed of filth. However, this article does seem to shy away from the “How to Legislate Temperance” section of the Tragedy of Commons—its focus is solely directed to the benefit of the environment, regardless of any ethical side effects of the population.
The fundamental idea reflected by the Kitchen Sink article is the extent of the commerce clause seems to exceed ethical values. Therefore, the authority of the commerce clause is unconstitutional. The article exposes the power of the commerce clause by describing it as “a limitless authority to regulate virtually anything anywhere at any time: everything up to and including, literally, the kitchen sink.” At first, this accusation seems farfetched but within the commerce clause, federal bureaucrats extend authority by “writing laws in the vaguest terms, and interpreting them as broadly as possible”.
In respect to the Tragedy of the Commons, the argument of the Kitchen Sink article is captured by the “How to Legislate Temperance” section. The location of his accused pollution to the environment is approximately 20mi from navigable waters and therefore “does not harm the general public under frontier conditions, because there is no public”. However, this article seems to ignore the invisible hand concept under the Tragedy of the Commons—if this case were to be in favor of Rapanos, it is highly probable that others would begin to use this method to supply their own personal gains.
Personally, I side with the simple property rights interpretation of legal wetlands regulation for two reasons. First, the article does not include vague details or overly complex themes that deviate from the central topic of the article. Secondly, I believe that the power of the commerce clause in this situation has too much authority. I say this because the definition of the law is far too broad; however, I confess that the commerce law is indeed needed, but there is a vast amount of room for improvement.
In regards to acceptable legal scope of the regulation of water bodies/wetlands, Justice Kennedy sits as the mediator. In an attempt to help alleviate the situation, “Justice Kennedy was willing to give the agency a chance to show the importance of its intervention”. Therefore, it was the responsibility of the agency to prove if the environmental impact caused by John Rapanos was indeed detrimental to the stability of the environment. In regards to the Tragedy of the Commons, Justice Kennedy serves as a prime example of “[w]ho shall watch the watchers themselves”—his actions “nonetheless places a high burden of proof on the regulators”.