Wednesday, March 17, 2010

More heat than light

A few years into the future:

[click] Farnsworth? Get down here. I have a case for you.

Is that you, G?

Of course it’s me; who else would it be?

I don’t know; I just got here a few days ago.

Farnsworth, the newest and greenest assistant in the AG's office, can hardly believe it. He thought it would be weeks before he even saw the AG in the hallway. But to be called to the AG’s office this soon!

Hi, G, you said you’ve got a case for me?

Yes, come in and sit down.

Well, who am I up against?

The Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution.

I beg your pardon?

That’s right, you weren’t here when the Minnesota Light Bulb Freedom Act was passed. A few years ago, the Legislature passed a law to say that Minnesota could produce and sell incandescent light bulbs even after they were supposed to be phased out by federal law. Well, some fools have been making them, and the Justice Department wants to shut them down. Since it involves the invalidation of a state law, we have to intervene.

Oh, now I get it. The Commerce Clause, which authorizes the federal government to regulate interstate commerce, is the section of the Constitution relied on by the Congress for the Energy Independence and Security Act, sort of like the Clean Water Act, the creation of the EPA, and so on. This, um, doesn’t sound like a winner, does it?

Well, the bright lights — so to speak — at the Leege said to the feds when they passed the statue, “If you got a lawsuit, bring it on.” And now they have.

I’m flattered, G, but don’t you think this case needs someone with more experience?

Why? The result will be exactly the same. As it is, this will be an expensive enough fiasco for the taxpayer. You’re the cheapest one I’ve got.

But G!

It’s called taking one for the team, Farnsworth.

[shoulders sagging, Farnsworth gets up to leave] All right, G.

And Farnsworth —

Yes, G?


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