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Law & the Courts

Supreme Court Declines to Hear Challenge to Trump’s Tariffs

The U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., November 13, 2018 (Al Drago/Reuters)

The Supreme Court on Monday upheld a lower court’s ruling that affirmed the constitutionality of President Trump’s decision to invoke national security in implementing tariffs on steel and aluminum.

Trump imposed tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on imported aluminum in March of last year, irking American companies that said they’d be hurt by the decision.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Court of International Trade ruled in favor of the president’s authority to cite national security as a justification for imposing the tariffs, under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. A month later, the American Institute for International Steel and two member companies, Texas-based Sim-Tex and Kurt Orban Partners, asked that the Supreme Court hear an appeal of that decision. The companies claimed that the part of the law the Trump administration cited was not specific enough and “unconstitutionally delegates legislative power to the President and that therefore the tariffs are invalid.”

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle criticized Trump for the tariffs. Senator Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), who has generally opposed the Trump administration’s imposition of tariffs on various countries as a negotiating tool, announced his intention to introduce legislation after Congress’s summer recess to check the president’s power to implement more tariffs.

“It adds up to something pretty simple: Congress has delegated too much authority to the president of the United States,” Grassley said earlier this month. “This is not about Trump. It’s about the balancing of power.”

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