It's about the Division of Power
BY CHARLES E. KRUSE
On April 6th, the Western District Court of Appeals vacated the judgment previously issued by the Cole County Circuit Court restricting the location of a livestock operation near Arrow Rock State Park. Some reporting of the Court of Appeals decision suggested it was a win for CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations), trying to make it a size issue, and thus missed the whole point of the appeal.
Farm Bureau’s appeal of the Cole County Circuit Court decision should not mislead anyone to believe Missouri Farm Bureau is trying to protect farming operations, large or small, that do not comply with federal and state laws and regulations. Our members want ‘bad actors’ out of the picture as much as anyone else, regardless of the size of their operation.
In the Arrow Rock case, the farmer who wanted to build was in total compliance with all federal and state laws and regulations with regard to modern livestock facilities. Farm Bureau became involved to defend farmers from being legislated to by a judge. Had the appellate court upheld the lower court’s ruling, it would have affirmed the courts’ authority to, in essence, legislate. That is not how the division of power works in America.
The Constitution of the United States separates the powers of government. Article One, Section One says, “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.” Our elected representatives in Congress, and in the Missouri General Assembly, have the authority to legislate, or write laws.
Article Three, Section One of the Constitution says, “The judicial power of the United States shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.” The judicial branch of government has the authority to interpret those laws within the confines of our Constitution.
In the Arrow Rock case, the Cole County Circuit Court was expanding its interpretive powers into legislative powers, and it is not the only example of attempts by different branches of government to overstep their authority. The Western District Court of Appeals judgment was the only appropriate action.