15 May Can U.S. Mayors Implement Kyoto? (and Can Pres. Bush Stop Them)?
This NYT article details efforts by local and state governments to comply with the Kyoto Protocol despite that treaty’s rejection by the President and Senate. Along with various corporate efforts to battle global warming, these efforts further confirm that not everything in foreign affairs starts with the federal government.
On the other hand, these efforts do raise an interesting domestic U.S. law questions. Under recent Supreme Court precedent, the President can preempt state and local laws that he deems inconsistent with a clearly established national policy? President Bush relied on this authority, in part, when he invalidated (or tried to invalidate) Texas laws denying certain rights to foreign defendants on death row? Could he do the same here? Declare these various local laws in violation of the express U.S. policy not to comply with the Kyoto Protocol?
This sounds absurd, and as a political matter it may be so, but as a legal matter, this is not so crazy. I think the Supreme Court’s precedent in this area allows for this possibility. We’ll see.