SCOTUS Just Handed Trump A Massive Victory

OPINION:  This article contains commentary which may reflect the author’s opinion

Former President Donald Trump imposed a 25% tariff on steel and a 10% tariff on aluminum imports during his tenure in the White House on March 1, 2018. On March 8, he signed an order to impose the tariffs effective after 15 days.

The World Trade Organization, including China, Japan, and the EU, on Friday said it was “not persuaded” that the United States faced “an emergency in international relations” that would justify the tariffs.

This does not hold much weight, as the WTO’s Appellate body hasn’t functioned for three years, ever since the United States blocked the appointment of new judges to the panel.

But in a strange twist, the administration of President Joe Biden has sided with former President Donald Trump’s administration on steel tariffs and the U.S. Supreme Court has now agreed.

The SCOTUS 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 Epoch Times reported.

“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.

“When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good and easy to win,” the former president said on Twitter the day after he enacted the tariffs.

“For example, when we are down $100 billion with a certain country and they get cute, don’t trade anymore—we win big. It’s easy!” he said.

The Epoch Times reported:

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 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.

Ross found in a 2018 report that “domestic steel production is important for national security applications” and that steel imports were on track to account for more than 30 percent of domestic consumption. He also determined that “excessive quantities of imports have the effect of weakening the internal economy of the United States, threatening to impair the national security.”

In other SCOTUS news, last week, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously for a deaf student who sued his public school system for not providing an adequate education. The case could spark major change nationwide as other disabled students have alleged they were failed by school officials, Conservative Brief reports.

“The case the justices ruled in involves Miguel Luna Perez, who attended public school in Sturgis, Michigan. Perez’s lawyers told the court that for 12 years the school system neglected the boy and lied to his parents about the progress he was making, permanently stunting his ability to communicate,” PBS reported. “The justices ruled that after Perez and his family settled a complaint against the school system — with officials agreeing to pay for additional schooling and sign language instruction — they could pursue money damages under a different federal law.”

Perez charged that the school inflated his grades to look as if he was passing, and just before graduation, he was denied a diploma, being told he only would receive a “certificate of completion” instead. The matter was settled with the school paying for tutors, and Perez graduated from the Michigan School for the Deaf in 2020.

After the settlement, the family went to federal court to seek monetary damages. The federal court ruled against the family, but the Supreme Court sided with the Perez family. Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in an eight-page opinion for the court that the case “holds consequences not just for Mr. Perez but for a great many children with disabilities and their parents.”

Perez’s lawyer Roman Martinez said in an emailed statement: “We are thrilled with today’s decision. The Court’s ruling vindicates the rights of students with disabilities to obtain full relief when they suffer discrimination. Miguel and his family look forward to pursuing their legal claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act.”


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