The American Institute for International Steel is seeking reinforcements in its legal battle over the constitutionality of the Trump administration’s Section 232 tariffs. In a letter to AIIS members and steel supply chain partners this week, the trade group solicited donations to help cover its legal bills.
“Legal costs and related expenses are mounting quickly. We will certainly be outspent by the government in this effort, but we will not be out-lawyered or out-worked,” wrote AIIS Chairman John D. Foster.
AIIS, along with Sim-Tex, LP, and Kurt Orban Partners, LLC, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of International Trade last month alleging that the statute violates the constitutional prohibition against Congress delegating its legislative powers to the president. Doing so lacks any “intelligible principle” to limit the discretion of the president, charges the group. The lawsuit also asserts that Section 232 violates the constitutional principle of checks and balances as the president’s actions on trade are not subject to judicial review. Because Section 232 is unconstitutional, asserts AIIS, the president’s trade actions are, as well. If the court should find in favor of the plaintiffs, the Section 232 tariffs and quotas would be terminated and businesses that paid excess tariffs would be entitled to refunds.
A positive ruling also would prevent further use of Section 232 on the imports of automobiles and auto parts, which was the subject of a Commerce Department hearing in Washington today.
AIIS maintains that the 25 percent tariff on steel imports is unjustified and threatens the loss of revenues and jobs at companies throughout the supply chain. AIIS members include railroads, transportation companies, port authorities, union locals, traders and logistics companies, as well as foreign steel producers—all of which stand to be harmed by the reduction of steel imported into the United States.
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