A discussion at the University of Chicago Law School with Professor Jonathan Masur.
Some critics view Pruitt's lawsuits as 'anti-EPA,' but that is not how the American constitutional system works. The EPA said it had authority under the law, Pruitt (acting on behalf of Oklahoma) said it didn't, and the Supreme Court sided with Pruitt. He plainly understands the EPA's role at least as well as its own prior leaders did, if not better. Now, as EPA administrator, he won't have to pursue years of litigation to keep the EPA's behavior within its legal limits; he will have that control himself.
If there is to be an administrative state, it should be managed by a White House that establishes processes and standards, controls budgets and timelines, directs activities, and must provide final authorization for formal action. But the net effect should not be an aggrandizement of the presidency; rather, as discussed elsewhere in this report, reforms in the other branches are necessary to account for this more energized office and to cabin its reach. The end goal should be an executive branch with narrowed scope of authority but greater capacity to use effectively the authority granted.
The dangerous and novel phenomenon of 2016 is not irresponsible politicians or an inflamed electorate, but rather the unprecedented concentration of power awaiting the election's ultimate winner. Ironically, many of the now-panicking elites are the very ones who made the presidency so powerful. If they can learn the right lesson from the recent chaos, the specter--even fleeting--of a President Trump or a President Sanders could provide the needed spur to restore balance to our constitutional system.