The Stone City

Words Made to Last

Friday, December 16, 2005

Tobacco Trust Treaty (II)

This treaty has been publicized again at The Volokh Conspiracy. In an aside to a post on Illinois's declining to retroactively criminalize the sale of low-tar cigarettes, David Kopel notes:
My personal belief though, is that the major tobacco companies, including Philip Morris, have engaged in reprehensible and immoral conduct--specifically, by entering into the multistate compact with the state attorneys general. As detailed in a lawsuit by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, currently pending in federal district court, the compact creates a cartel which protects the major companies from price competition by smaller companies--even though the smaller companies were never accused of the supposed misconduct for which the attorneys general sued the larger companies.
A decent summary. At the link provided by Mr. Kopel, an editorial against the treaty is followed by a response from Iowa's Attorney General, Tom Miller:
However, at least three courts have rejected compact clause challenges to the MSA (e.g., Star Scientific Inc. v. Beales, 4th Circuit, 2002).
Googling on Findlaw, we find the relevant portion of the Beales decision:
The court ruled that Star Scientific lacked standing to challenge the Master Settlement Agreement under the Compact Clause because Star Scientific could not allege an injury that was "concrete and particularized," nor could it show any legal prejudice caused by the Master Settlement Agreement.
So Mr. Miller's characterization of the case as a rejection of the compact clause challenge is narrowly correct, but deeply unconvincing.