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Transportation Politics

White House Punts On Petition To Allow Tesla Direct Sales 382

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the look-at-those-hands-wave dept.
First time accepted submitter neanderslob (1207704) writes Last Friday, over a year after the petition gained the required signatures for a response, the White House rejected a We the People petition to "Allow Tesla Motors to sell directly to consumers in all 50 states." The letter went on to defend the administration by citing their initiatives "in promoting vehicle efficiency." In response, Tesla is firing back, blasting the White House for a lack of leadership on the issue and stating "138,469 people signed the petition asking the White House to allow Tesla Motors to sell directly to consumers in all 50 states. More than a year later, at 7.30pm EST on Friday as most of America prepared for the weekend, the White House released its disappointing response to those people. Rather than seize an opportunity to promote innovation and support the first successful American car company to be started in more than a century, the White House issued a response that was even more timid than its rejection of a petition to begin construction of a Death Star." There's a legal issue here: the executive can't just wave state law aside. But they could suggest Congress write new laws instead of just noting that Congress would need to take action.
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White House Punts On Petition To Allow Tesla Direct Sales

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  • For us dummies.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AudioEfex (637163) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @12:39PM (#47458145)
    ....can someone briefly summarize like we are in third grade (OK, maybe junior high) why Tesla can't sell their vehicles anywhere they damn well please? I don't follow car news so I don't know (and I'm asking here because I figure I am not the only one).
  • by sycodon (149926) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @12:57PM (#47458393)

    Really, it doesn't matter when he or any other President did that.

    What really matters is that the ignorant fool of an AC believes that he should be able to do that. It should scare the shit out of everyone that even an AC would think that a President should be able to cast aside state laws with a mere wave of his hand or executive order. That's fucking dictator shit right there.

    People have thrown the Dictator charge around and it's been consider kookville, because there has always been some arguable legal construct supporting it. But for anyone to seriously suggest that a President has unilateral discretion over the laws of individual states is scary and should get everyone's attention.

  • by ravenscar (1662985) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @01:00PM (#47458441)

    These White House petitions drive me a little nuts. I appreciate that they bring publicity to an issue, but they also demonstrate a fundamental misunderstanding of how the US Government is designed to work. The issue is state and local laws. These laws don't contradict federal laws. What do people want the President to do about it? If people are upset about their local laws they need to work at the local level - petitioning state law makers.

    The argument could be made that this is interstate commerce. Great, then work with your national representatives to propose federal legislation that would overrule the local laws. It very likely would have to stand up to a court challenge, but the courts have been exceptionally liberal in their interpretation of interstate commerce. If the local governments fail to comply THEN the executive branch will get involved in enforcement.

    It seems like people want the Executive and Judicial branches making the laws. This isn't how it's supposed to happen - for good reason. This reflects not only a bad approach to government, but it is also a sign of just how completely broken Congress is. How said that the only ones who seem able to push any sort of legislation through Congress are big businesses. Everyone else is stuck looking for some sort of alternative. Sadly, those alternatives, should they end up successful, will just result in a less representative, more authoritarian government.

  • Re:Pen & Phone (Score:3, Insightful)

    by chill (34294) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @01:00PM (#47458445) Journal

    I thought...

    You keep using that word, but I don't think it means what you think it means.

    You parroted without doing any sort of independent analysis or validation.

  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @01:00PM (#47458451)

    How many times has the President (any President) done exactly this? Since Jackson famously told the Supremes "now go and enforce it" the Executive has been able to give the Judicial the finger. How many times in recent memory has the Executive waived, changed, or broken existing laws regarding the new Health Care act?

  • by IronOxen (2502562) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @01:03PM (#47458493)
    That will ensure their success. Anything we declare war on thrives like never before.
  • by istartedi (132515) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @01:07PM (#47458531) Journal

    Well now, here's an actual legitimate use of the Commerce Clause; but Congress won't use it. Every podunk dealer that ever contributed to their campaigns would ring their phones off the hook, as well as actual corporate lobby from GM, etc.

  • by TechyImmigrant (175943) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @01:26PM (#47458759) Journal

    Most states, prodded perhaps by dealer associations, have forbidden auto manufacturers from selling directly to the public.

    There is no "perhaps" about it. Auto dealer associations are entirely the reason - no need to qualify your statement. They are parasitic middlemen and they know they have a good deal going. They cost both customers and the automakers money. They should have to compete and provide value just like any other business. There should be no legal prohibition against me buying a car directly from Tesla, GM, Toyota or any other car maker if I want. If the dealer can provide me extra value then fine but if they cannot (and most cannot) then they should disappear like the obsolete businesses they are. There is no rational justification I have heard for protecting their business model at my expense. Perhaps you know of a good reason but frankly for me if auto dealers disappear tomorrow it won't be too soon.

    Yup. It rather like being required to head to your nearest brick-and-mortar travel agency to book a flight and hotel and pay them their middleman fee, rather than going to united.com and tripadvisor,com (or whatever your preferred vendor is).

  • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sconeu (64226) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @02:04PM (#47459133) Homepage Journal

    Thank you. For once, this would be a legitimate use of the Interstate Commerce Clause.

    Clearly, this *is* the purview of Congress, not the President, but all that the White House needs to do to make the petitioners happy is have one of its pet Congresscritters introduce legislation.

    It seems to me that the state regulations banning such sales are an intrusion upon the prerogatives of Congress.

  • by afidel (530433) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @02:16PM (#47459251)

    He should tell Congress that Tesla should be blocked from direct sales, that's the only way to ensure that a law allowing direct sales in all 50 states will be passed =)

  • by JavaLord (680960) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @02:40PM (#47459415) Journal

    ... why can't he waive state laws?

    The last time the president did that, hundreds of thousands of Americans lost their lives in the resulting conflict.

    Presidents (and federal officials) can browbeat states into changing state law pretty easily by threatening to revoke federal funds.

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