Business Lobby Threatens to Sue Trump Over New Tariffs

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Trump threatened to impose tariffs on virtually all goods imported from Mexico on a whim yesterday evening and the Chamber of Commerce among others are not happy about it.

CNBC reports that the Chamber among other business groups are considering filing a lawsuit to challenge Trump's tariffs

The powerful U.S. Chamber of Commerce is mulling its legal options in response to the duties, the group's senior vice president of international affairs, John Murphy, told reporters Friday. Murphy said the group has no choice but to look into every option to push back against the tariff policy.

Business groups more broadly are discussing the possibility of suing the White House, a source told CNBC. A decision on how to proceed is expected by Monday.

It's not clear exactly what authority Trump intends to cite to impose tariffs on imports from Mexico.

Trump has cited Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 -- which says the president can impose tariffs for "national security" reasons -- to impose tariffs on foreign metal and Chinese goods, but imposing tariffs for that reason legally requires the Commerce Department to formally study and then propose tariffs.

The Commerce Department has not formally recommended imposing tariffs on all imports from Mexico nor has the public been allowed to comment on a proposal.

I have no idea if a federal court would side with the Chamber of Commerce, but it does not appear that Trump has very sound legal footing to do this.

  • muselet

    As grimly amusing as this is, not one business group will stop giving campaign donations to Rs who actively or passively support the Trump Trade Wars, not one business group will publicly denounce Rs’ economic lunacy, not one business group will support a presidential candidate other than Donald Trump.

    I hope the Chamber of Commerce and its allies do sue. I also hope said lawsuit bankrupts those business groups (and also bankrupts Trump, though I’m not sure how that could happen).

    No one involved in this potential lawsuit is a good guy. May they all lose.


    • Draxiar

      Amen, brother.

  • gescove

    I’m guessing “I am Emperor Trump and I rule by fiat” will not be seen as firm legal footing.

    • Christopher Foxx

      Not by responsible judges who, like Republicans claim they like, follow the law. But by the judges Republicans actually appoint aren’t responsible.