Calls to Defend Constitution Draw Blank Stares from Democrats

DENVER – After years of watching America’s constitutionally-ordained system of checks and balances under relentless attack at the federal and state level, Senate Republicans made it a priority this session to reassert their prerogatives as members of the legislative branch and shore-up the bulwarks against executive branch power grabs. 

That’s the impetus behind Senate Bill 226, which bars the state from participating in an ad hoc, multi-state “Climate Alliance” created to mimic the carbon-reduction goals of the unilaterally-negotiated, never-ratified Paris Climate Accords, which has states assuming powers that are reserved to the federal government under the U.S. Constitution. SB-226 cleared the Republican-controlled Senate Wednesday on a party-line vote, despite determined efforts by Democrats to miss the point and hijack the debate in order to promote various climate theories as “settled science.”

“It’s a potential constitutional crisis that this bill seeks to head-off, not the so-called climate crisis,” said Berthoud Republican Kevin Lundberg, who co-authored the bill with Greeley Republican John Cooke. “The U.S. Constitution makes it crystal clear that entering into international agreements or accords is a federal responsibility, not a state responsibility, and there’s nothing in the Constitution that permits states to ignore or waive those rules, at the discretion of governors, in response to a ‘climate crisis’ or any other crisis.”

“There are plenty of practical reasons why Coloradans shouldn’t be compelled by the governor to meet the potentially-costly provisions of the Paris pact,” added Cooke. “But what we’re doing with this bill is taking a stand, on principle, against those who would use climate change or any other supposed crisis as a justification for ignoring or tearing-down a system of checks and balances that prevents abuses of power in this country.”

Former President Barack Obama set a troubling tone in Washington by simply ignoring or trampling any checks on his executive power that proved politically inconvenient, with his unilateral negotiation of the unratified Paris Climate Accord being one glaring example. And Democrats at the state level appear to have adopted many of those same attitudes, as shown by Hickenlooper’s use of executive action to drag Colorado into a copy-cat “climate alliance” of equally dubious legitimacy.

“It really puts us on a slippery slope, toward ever greater abuses of power, when elected officials who are sworn to uphold the laws of the land begin to argue that restraints on their power can simply be ignored, or selectively respected, because of some ginned-up emergency like global warming,” Cooke added. “I’m just a little shocked that so many Democrats can’t see beyond climate politics, in order to take a stand for important constitutional principles.”

SB-226 now moves to the Democrat-controlled House for action.


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