9:10 ET: President Obama delivers remarks at the Cashman Center, Las Vegas
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton looks on as President Barack Obama hugs a State Department employee at the State Department where the President went to meet with staff after the killing of US Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three staff members at the US Consulate building in Benghazi, Libya.
The Guardian: Antitrust enforcement is back in America, perhaps in a serious way. If so, it’s long overdue.
But even though the US justice department is suing to block AT&T’s buyout of T-Mobile’s US wireless operations, competition in America’s telecommunications industry is fading…..
Still, Wednesday’s legal action, filed by the department’s antitrust division, is welcome. The George W Bush administration was easily the most lax in antitrust enforcement in recent history, and the Obama administration hadn’t been significantly more ardent to protect competition…..
…. (but) the government’s complaint in this case says what most people – apart from those who stood to gain directly – already knew: The deal would reduce competition in a marketplace that is already an oligopoly.
The deal could still happen, in one of several ways …. the act of going to court, however, suggests that either AT&T wasn’t interested in dealing or that the government simply found this buyout unacceptable on its face.
…. AT&T’s lobbying efforts on behalf of this deal, and its brazen lack of regard for reality, have been epic …. the primary motive for the buyout was to reduce competition, contrary to countless statements about how this would be great for customers…
Eric Posner and Adrian Vermeule (Slate): President Obama’s decision to ignore the Office of Legal Counsel’s advice about Libya has shocked and worried critics on the left and right. Yet the decision emerged from what was essentially a bureaucratic conflict – the State Department and the White House Counsel’s Office said the U.S. military intervention in Libya was permissible under the War Powers Resolution, OLC and the Department of Defense disagreed – and the uninitiated may be forgiven for wondering what all the fuss is about. Isn’t choosing among the views of his advisers what the president is supposed to do?
The president’s critics say that in important legal matters, it’s the job of OLC (which is part of the Justice Department) to weigh the competing views and issue an opinion that presidents are presumptively bound to respect …. there is no reason that the president – the sole officer of government constitutionally required to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed” – should be bound, even presumptively, by the legal views of those who are, after all, merely his servants.
… suppose that OLC does provide independent legal advice. There is nothing objectionable about a presidential decision to adopt the views of one set of legal advisers over those of another. The procedure the White House followed – hearing from legal advisers in four offices, with diverse expertise and perspectives – seems a sensible approach to decision-making. Interpreting the War Powers Resolution is not like reading a speed limit sign; the statute is riddled with ambiguities….
… A president need not have or consult any legal advisers at all …. It is mysterious why it is controversial that a president should get to decide which, if any, of his own creatures he will deign to hear. OLC exists to serve the presidency, not the other way around.
The Hill: The Obama administration said Friday that a massive pipeline carrying oil across much of the United States must remain shut down until federal regulators are satisfied that it can operate without future leaks. TransCanada’s Keystone pipeline leaked twice last month, fueling opposition to a pending expansion of the project, which is undergoing a wide-ranging federal review.
The Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a “corrective action order” Friday informing TransCanada that it must take a series of steps before resuming normal operations at the pipeline, which runs from Canada to Oklahoma.
“After evaluating the foregoing preliminary findings of fact, I find that the continued operation of the pipeline without corrective measures would be hazardous to life, property and the environment,” Jeffrey Wiese, PHMSA’s associate administrator for pipeline safety, said in the order.
…The order comes at a politically sensitive time for TransCanada. The company is seeking federal approval to expand its Keystone pipeline to carry Canadian oil sands from Alberta to Texas … Environmental groups have mounted a campaign against the Keystone XL project, arguing that it puts the country at risk of major oil spills ….the oil industry and some Republicans have been strong advocates for the approval Keystone XL…..