Economy

Metal Industry Groups File Lawsuit Challenging Trump’s Tariffs

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

I don't know if this challenge stands a chance in hell of ultimately succeeding, but I think it's imperative that someone try.

Steel and metal industry groups have filed a lawsuit against Trump's tariffs on steel and aluminium imports because they were imposed on national security grounds where there is no threat to national security.

From the Wall Street Journal:

The lawsuit filed Wednesday was organized by the American Institute for International Steel, a group that includes users of imported steel as well as others connected with trade in the alloy, including some worker groups.

In the lawsuit, the AIIS is joining Sim-Tex LP, a Texas distributor of pipeline products to the oil-and-gas industry, and Kurt Orban Partners, a California-based trader in specialty steel, in asking federal judges to declare Section 232 unconstitutional and void Mr. Trump’s 25% tariff on imported steel made under that law’s authority.

The steel firms and trade group say they have been unfairly hurt by the law and argue that it improperly delegates trade powers to the president because it lacks guidelines or rules to limit the president’s discretion. The case was filed in the Court of International Trade, a federal court in New York that hears trade cases.

It does appear to be true that the president could theoretically impose tariffs on and tank virtually any industry or business just because he wants to; just because he has deemed it a threat without presenting any evidence of a threat.

The only reason to believe this challenge may succeed is because the law was passed by Congress nearly 60 years ago. The Constitution does not give the office of the president complete authority over trade and it's possible the law itself is unconstitutional. The constitutionality of the law hasn't be challenged before because challenging it hasn't been necessary. It hasn't been necessary because previous presidents weren't as completely unhinged from fact and reality as Donald Trump is.

With all of that said, it's an incredibly if not impossibly high bar to clear under a judiciary that is about to become even more conservative.

I personally believe they law should either be struck down or replaced by Congress. I don't like the idea of any president, not just Trump, having the authority to impose tariffs just because they have a bug up their ass.

  • muselet

    This is definitely a story to keep an eye on. There is no threat to national security from imported steel, so even if Section 232 is constitutional, Donald Trump’s tariffs are contrary to the law.

    Watch five of the Supremes say Trump can do whatever he wants with regard to tariffs because reasons.

    –alopecia

  • Badgerite

    Exactly.