US Court of Appeals Rules Trump Steel Tariffs Constitutional

Published by Matt Fishman on

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has ruled that President Trump’s tariffs on imported steel are constitutional.

Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 “grant[s] the President certain discretionary authority regarding tariffs on goods from foreign nations with which the President might enter into executive agreements.” On March 8, 2018, President Trump imposed a 25-percent tariff on certain imported steel products based on this statute.

The American Institute for International Steel, Inc. sued the United States, “arguing that the statute is unconstitutional on its face because the authority it confers is so unconstrained as to constitute legislative power that is Congress’s alone under Article I of the Constitution and so cannot be delegated.”

In their ruling today, the U.S. Court of Appeals cited a Supreme Court case Federal Energy Administration v. Algonquin, where the court declared section 232 does not violate Congress’s legislative power, for the basis of their decision. Similarly, the Supreme Court already rejected hearing an appeal for this case “holding that Section 232 sets forth an intelligible principle to guide the President’s adjustment of imports and therefore is constitutional.”