From: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce
To: Our Unceasingly Persecuted Members
Re: Those Unhinged State Attorneys General
Date: May 14, 2013
I don’t know about you, but when I think about “Attorneys General”
these days, the word “deranged” comes to mind. I’m not even talking about Eric Holder. Stealing confidential info? Big deal, that’s our specialty!
(He should have asked for our help, am I
I am talking about the AG variety coming out of radical
states like South Dakota, where the state AG is wasting taxpayer money
“spending a lot of time” (his words) trying to prevent people from being scammed
by so-called “bad people” from Canada who are calling and telling people they have
an error on their tax returns. Don’t
people know that if a Canadian calls they shouldn’t pick up the phone?
Or Missouri, where the tree-hugger AG has filed a lawsuit against the owners of the Bridgeton Sanitary Landfill for violating environmenal laws just because they leaked hazardous chemicals in the air and black liquid leachate into groundwater, upsetting area residents who “for years have been putting up with the stench of a burning landfill.” Duh, why don't they just move?
And now, 43 state AG’s are asking the FDA to “place a ‘black box warning’ on labels of the opioid category of prescription-pain relievers to alert pregnant women that use of such drugs may harm infants.” They say that “the use of opioids ‘has increased at alarming levels,’ triggering more cases of a condition known as Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome.” Let me just say that the federal government doesn’t need any “help” from the states. Don’t they know that the FDA is perfectly able to handle any and every little safety hiccup that comes along?
All I can say is, thank you (in advance) U.S. Supreme Court.
As luck would have it, next week, the Justices are meeting to decide whether to take a
couple cases that could – hopefully - once and for all block a bunch of AG
lawsuits. (Well, at least make it far
more difficult for any AG to bring one.) Writes
A federal statute passed in 2005, known as the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), aimed to give federal courts jurisdiction over lawsuits involving large numbers of plaintiffs. But it is not clear whether the statute was meant to apply to suits filed by state attorneys general seeking to recover damages for their citizens.
Oh, it will be clear soon enough. Because if history is any guide, we know that SCOTUS won’t hesitate to decide what Congress “really meant to say” even though they forgot to actually write it in the statute. (Like here.) Especially if that means flooding the federal court system with even more lawsuits that it cannot possibly handle. SCOTUS will do anything to protect us, that much we know.Continues Reuters:
[The states say that] CAFA makes no reference to lawsuits filed by state attorneys general and that imposing federal jurisdiction on their lawsuits would infringe on their sovereignty. They also argue that as states, they should not be considered "citizens" for diversity purposes under CAFA.
So far, only the 5th Circuit has agreed with corporate defendants. In the price-fixing case brought by the Mississippi attorney general against LCD makers, the court adopted a so-called "claim-by-claim" approach that analyzes who would benefit from a lawsuit, not simply who brought it, when deciding jurisdiction.
In his petition to the Supreme Court, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood argues that the 5th Circuit's decision conflicts with Supreme Court precedent.
“This Court has consistently held that a state’s overall interest in the case it has brought in its name is the determinative inquiry, not who may ultimately benefit from the relief sought,” wrote lawyers for Hood's office.