OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
The U.S. Supreme Court sided with the administration of former President Donald Trump over President Joe Biden’s administration in a case involving steel tariffs.
The Trump administration’s decision to enact the tariffs, according to USP Holdings, was improper, the company claimed in an appeal that was turned down by lower courts. The Biden administration argued against USP Holdings and other steel importers who claimed the tariffs had harmed them while largely maintaining the current level of tariffs.
“The Biden administration understands that simply lifting steel tariffs without any solution in place, particularly beyond the dialogue, could well mean layoffs and plant closures in Pennsylvania and in Ohio and other states where obviously the impact would be felt not only economically but politically,” Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, said.
“Trump cited Section 232 of the Trade Act of 1962, which permits the president to impose restrictions on the importation of goods deemed essential to national security. He said at the time that the tariffs were needed to bolster the production of airplanes, ships, and military materials with U.S. steel. The tariffs created tension with some U.S. allies, although some countries were exempted from the policy,” the report added.
“The Supreme Court turned away the petition in USP Holdings Inc. v. United States, court file 22-565, in an unsigned order. The court didn’t explain its decision. No justices dissented from the order. In April 2017, then-Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross commenced an investigation to determine whether “steel was being imported under such circumstances as to threaten or impair national security,” according to the petition (pdf) filed with the Supreme Court,” it continued.
Beyond that, the Supreme Court has been busy.
The Supreme Court appears poised to deliver rulings this term that could upend climate change lawsuits.
In an opinion piece for Fox News, Boyden Gray — who served as counsel to the vice president in the Reagan administration and as White House counsel to President George H.W. Bush — detailed how federal courts are struggling to agree on whether climate change lawsuits are governed by state or federal law, meaning the Supreme Court will likely decide for them.
“For over a century, the Supreme Court has held that lawsuits over air (and water) pollution that crosses state lines must be decided under federal law. This means overreaching states and cities cannot impose their environmental agendas on their neighbors or otherwise hijack the domain of federal environmental law, federal regulations, and international treaties,” Gray wrote.
“The Supreme Court unanimously extended this principle in American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut (AEP). That case, decided in 2011, involved federal-law claims by eight states, New York City, and others to compel certain power companies to abate their greenhouse-gas emissions. In an opinion by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the court concluded that applying federal law was appropriate, then agreed with the Obama administration that those claims couldn’t proceed in court at all because Congress has delegated the regulation of greenhouse-gas emissions to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Clean Air Act,” he added.
Gray went on to note two other cases where progressive states and cities are now launching lawsuits demanding billions of dollars for damages allegedly related to past, present, and future climate change.
However, now they are attempting to cite state law to get around the point made by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The 2nd Circuit in 2021 dismissed such claims outright in the City of New York v. Chevron Corp. There, New York City sued a handful of energy companies under state law for damages allegedly caused by climate change. The court concluded that “over a century” of Supreme Court precedent makes clear that federal law necessarily applies to lawsuits relating to air pollution that crosses state lines, which includes greenhouse gas emissions. Following AEP, the Second Circuit dismissed the case.
Three of these cases are now before the Supreme Court—the 3rd Circuit’s decision in Delaware v. BP America Inc., the 9th Circuit’s decision in Chevron Corp. v. San Mateo County, and the 10th Circuit’s decision in Suncor Energy (U.S.A.) Inc. v. Board of County Commissioners of Boulder County. The energy companies in each case have asked the court to intervene and resolve both splits, reaffirming that climate change lawsuits are inherently governed by federal law and therefore belong in federal court.
The Supreme Court has the ability to deliver a crushing blow this term to liberals and those who are trying to exploit laws in order to “stick it” to big companies in the name of “climate change,” Gray warned.