The Rule of Law in Action: Massachusetts v. EPA Case


1. Analyze the EPA’s actions in this case through the lens of Justice Scalia’s comments in the Printz decision, excerpted in this chapter.

2. Judge David Tatel, quoted at different points in this chapter, has commented, “when reading a set of briefs or listening to oral arguments, I sometimes wonder whether the agency consulted its lawyers only after it found itself in court.” Consider Dimock’s guideline for “finding the law.” Presumably the EPA had skilled attorneys during the different administrations described in this case. Was the difficulty in the case “finding the law”? Or was it something else?

3. Of the different sources of law described in this chapter, which are evident in this case (including those directly involved in the lawsuits)?

4. What does accountability mean in the context of this case? Which accountability institutions are evident?

5. Discuss what it means for an EPA public manager to “think institutionally” concerning the issues raised in this case.

6. What are the tensions between technical rationality and political rationality evident in this case?

I encourage you to number your responses in accordance with the prompts from the assignment. Part of the assignment’s scoring is based on adequately addressing each question of the assignment. Numbering responses will help eliminate any confusion.

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