Monday, 2004 July 26, 23:19 — politics

better than average as unelected rulers go

Will Wilkinson on State Autonomy and Electoral Triviality

I once went on a date with an EPA lawyer. I said to her, more or less, this is my guess about what you do . . . A new environmental law is passed. The EPA people decide whether they like it or not. If they like it, they enforce it. If they don’t like it, they think, “What would we like the law to mean?” They then try to find a way of interpreting the language to reflect their, rather than congress’s preferences. The lawyers then think about who will sue them if they interpret the law this way, and whether they would win the suit. If they can’t win, they reinterpret it in a way that maybe doesn’t reflect their preferences as much, but which is more likely to stand up in court. Once they’ve got a winner, they implement, and prepare for the likely suit.

She said, “That’s almost exactly what I do.”

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