By Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Rep. Jennifer McClellan (D-VA)
Opining on the fate of the Mountain Valley Pipeline—a gas project that would run through our home state of Virginia—your editorial “Judges for Legal Disobedience” (July 12) criticizes the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit for refusing to honor “proper orders” from Congress. As lawmakers who were active in debate on those “orders,” we fear the editorial has it backward. It is our congressional colleagues who may have overstepped.
For Congress to approve the pipeline by fiat, with no due process, denies the people we serve any voice in their communities’ future. That is why we supported an amendment to strip language greenlighting the pipeline from the debt-ceiling deal. Sadly, the Republican majority failed to bring our amendment forward for a vote. So, after the debt-ceiling bill was finalized, we filed an amicus brief in the Fourth Circuit, noting that the pipeline provision in the Fiscal Responsibility Act raised serious separation-of-powers concerns.
Congress shouldn’t pick winners and losers in pending cases, telling courts how to resolve particular claims brought under pre-existing legal standards. The Fourth Circuit has scheduled a hearing in the pipeline cases for July 27. A stay of construction simply allows a fair process before the court to play out.
To read this article as it appeared in the Wall Street Journal, click here.