The Justice Department vs. the Rule of Law


Today the Supreme Court declined to review a D.C. Circuit ruling that crippled the federal government's lawsuit against the leading tobacco companies by preventing the Justice Department from seeking $280 billion in "ill-gotten gains." The appeals court noted that the provision of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act under with the DOJ is suing does not permit such "disgorgement." The government's other major rationale for demanding money from cigarette makers–the cost of treating smoking-related diseases under Medicare–also failed for lack of statutory authority. The Justice Department seems bent on taking the law out of lawsuit.