Coming quicker than expected, the Nebraska Supreme Court handed down a rejection to the arguments of three land-owners who sued to stop the Keystone Pipeline’s proposed route:
The ruling Friday was a split decision. Four judges on the seven-judge court agreed that the plaintiffs did have legal standing, but because the case raised a constitutional question, a super-majority of five judges was needed.
“The legislation must stand by default,” the court said in the opinion.
It’s a technicality that opened the door for an even larger victory in today’s vote in the House of Representatives to authorize the Keystone Pipeline’s construction (266-153), a project that will offer work to some and add 1,179 miles of oil pipeline to the American pipeline system which is already millions of miles long.
The long-awaited decision that would signal the Obama State Department on whether or not to approve the project can no longer be used as the excuse for fence sitting. Â Barack Obama, the Occupier of the Oval Office, will have to make a decision. Â So far, statements from the White House are that he will veto the measure if it passes both chambers of Congress. Â (Which it will with the majority in each house being his opposition, and given the popularity of the project.)
This sets up the possibility of REAL Capitol Hill drama, a veto override. Â Republicans in neither chamber have enough votes to muster the two-thirds majority needed to actually make it happen without help from Democrats. Â Nancy Pelosi is quite confident that her caucus in the House will hold the line, even if several of them crossed the aisle to pass the initial legislation today. Â The Senate is another matter, but the handful of votes that are likely to cross the aisle to pass the pending bill will be mere optics if the House cannot pass an override.
In the meantime, the bill needs a handful of votes to pass the Senate in order to be the first test of Obama’s resolve to hold the line on his agenda.