The Supreme Court on Monday decided not to hear a case brought by U.S. steel importers against tariffs that President Donald Trump imposed on steel imports in 2018, effectively ending the legal challenge and leaving the steep duties in place on imports from Europe, China and many other countries.
The decision could embolden Trump to take further tariff actions without worrying that the Supreme Court will strike them down. It puts the onus on Congress to decide whether it wants to rein in Trump’s tariff powers. So far, neither the Republican-led Senate nor the Democratic-led House has shown much interest in that.
Although the U.S. Constitution gives Congress jurisdiction over trade, Trump imposed the tariffs under the Section 232 of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act, which gives the president broad powers to restrict imports to protect national security.
The American Institute for International Steel, which represents importers of foreign-made steel, argued the law is unconstitutional because it imposes no limits on the president’s discretion to take action. As a result, the law is an improper delegation of legislative authority and a violation of the separation of powers, AIIS said.
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