Trade Cases

Appeals Court Upholds Constitutionality of Section 232

Written by Tim Triplett

The American Institute for International Steel suffered another setback in its constitutional challenge of the Trump administration’s use of Section 232 tariffs to restrict steel and aluminum imports on the basis of national security.

In a ruling on Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals rejected the claim by AIIS that the “non-delegation doctrine” makes it unconstitutional for Congress to delegate its legislative powers to another federal agency in this manner. The case will likely be appealed to the Supreme Court, although AIIS has not yet responded to SMU’s request for comment. AIIS members include foreign steelmakers.

“Today the Court of Appeals rightly affirmed our strong belief, and the previous decision of the Court of International Trade, that the constitutional challenge to the Section 232 statute is without merit,” said Thomas J. Gibson, president and CEO of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), which represents domestic steel mills. “This lawsuit by steel importers is a weak attempt to mask the fact that surging foreign imports have severely impacted the domestic steel industry and threaten our national and economic security. The Court today affirmed that Congress acted within its constitutional authority when it authorized the president to take action to adjust imports that threaten to impair our national security.”

AISI, in conjunction with the Steel Manufacturers Association (SMA), submitted an amicus curiae brief in the case in support of the constitutionality of the Section 232 statute. 

See trade attorney Lewis Leibowitz’s comments on the case in Leibowitz on Trade: Two Interesting Cases, elsewhere in this issue.

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