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President Joe Biden’s administration sided with former President Donald Trump’s administration on a steel tariffs case and the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed.
The Court declined to hear an appeal brought by USP Holdings, which was rejected by lower courts, in which it claimed the Trump administration acted improperly when it enacted the tariffs. The Biden administration has left the tariffs intact for the most part and argued against USP Holdings and other steel importers who said they were damaged by the 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.
In a separate case this week, the Supreme Court delivered bad news to President Joe Biden’s radical left climate agenda in a ruling involving broad authorities claimed by the Environmental Protection Agency.
In a 5-4 ruling, Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the majority, said that the agency’s congressional mandate does not give it the authority under the Clean Water Act to regulate wetlands near certain bodies of water, as the agency claimed.
The Supreme Court’s ruling reverses a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which sided with the EPA, CBS News reported.
“The reach of the Clean Water Act is notoriously unclear,” Alito wrote. “Any piece of land that is wet at least part of the year is in danger of being classified by E.P.A. employees as wetlands covered by the act, and according to the federal government, if property owners begin to construct a home on a lot that the agency thinks possesses the requisite wetness, the property owners are at the agency’s mercy.”
The lone conservative dissent was Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who sided with the court’s liberals in arguing that the ruling would harm the EPA’s ability to combat pollutants.
“By narrowing the act’s coverage of wetlands to only adjoining wetlands, the court’s new test will leave some long-regulated adjacent wetlands no longer covered by the Clean Water Act, with significant repercussions for water quality and flood control throughout the United States,” Kavanaugh explained.
The ruling follows one last year by the high court that also curbed the agency’s authorities to address climate change issues under the law.
Liberal Justice Elena Kagan, in a separate concurring opinion, drew a connection between the two cases and voiced criticism of the court’s self-appointed role as the ultimate arbiter of national environmental policy.
Kagan argued that the majority’s approach not only hampers the EPA’s ability to effectively regulate nearby wetlands but also previously impeded the agency’s efforts to control power plant emissions in order to tackle climate change.
The current case, Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency, involved Michael and Chantell Sackett of Idaho, who sought to build a home on a residential lot near Priest Lake in the state’s panhandle.
The agency issued an order to the couple, directing them to cease their construction activities and restore the property to its original state, accompanied by the threat of high fines. However, instead of complying with the order, the Sacketts opted to file a lawsuit against the agency.
Their legal action triggered a debate regarding the timeliness of the lawsuit, which eventually made its way to the Supreme Court in a previous appeal. In 2012, the justices ruled in favor of allowing the lawsuit to proceed.
The state of Texas in March also managed to block the EPA’s new water rule in a federal court decision that was celebrated by Attorney General Ken Paxton.
Paxton filed suit against the Biden administration in January to block the rule.