Monday :: Jul 18, 2005

Justice Department Finally Does The Right Thing On Tobacco Settlement


by Steve

You’ll recall that we bashed around the Alberto Gonzales Justice Department several weeks ago for selling out to Big Tobacco and undercutting their own litigators by slashing their proposed racketeering penalty against Big Tobacco from an expected $130 billion to only $10 billion, after the personal involvement of an Associate Attorney General who used to be an attorney for a tobacco company. At the time, the Justice Department said it had no choice because an appeals court decision in February restricted what the government could seek. As we noted at the time, if so then the proper course of action would be to appeal the appeals court decision to the Supreme Court, since it now turns out that one of the judges who wrote the pro-tobacco company decision was none other than Jesse Helms’ protégé and Big Tobacco supporter David Sentelle, who was responsible for issuing adverse, political rulings against Clinton.

The Justice Department just did what it should have done months ago: appeal the appeals court decision to the Supreme Court, especially since we now find out that the full DC Court of Appeals actually deadlocked 3-3 on whether the decision written by Sentelle should have stood in the first place.

This would sure make Gonzales look good at any subsequent Supreme Court nomination hearing.

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