Why the Justices Care About Your Electric Bill

It's a provocative question about federalism, hidden in a less-than-provocative ruling on energy regulation.

Where does the power flow in Washington?

Photographer: Steve Hockstein/Bloomberg

When I clerked on the D.C. Circuit in the 1990s, my friends and I dreaded getting “FERC-ed,” which was what we called being assigned a case involving the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The very word FERC can still give me a nightmare in which I’m chased through an endless pipeline by relentless administrative lawyers.

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