Last night, the states of Arizona, Louisiana, Michigan and Texas filed an amicus curiae brief opposing the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) regulation of premium cigars.
The brief was filed as part of the lawsuit brought by the Cigar Association of America (CAA), Cigar Rights of America (CRA) and the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR) against FDA and the agency’s deeming regulations released last year.
An amicus curiae brief, which translates to friend of the court, is when an unrelated party, i.e. not a defendant or plaintiff, files a brief with the court because they have an interest in the outcome. The briefs are also supposed to provide the court with added information about the matter at hand.
In the 27-page brief, the four states—led by Mark Brnovich, the Republican attorney general for Arizona—argue two main points.
First, FDA did not properly evaluate the costs the regulations would have, particularly on small businesses, something that all executive agencies are required to do by law before introducing new regulations. Second, FDA exceeded the intent of Congress by failing to provide evidence as to why cigars needed to be regulated from a public health standpoint.
The states argue they have a particular interest in the matter because a declining cigar industry would mean less state excise taxes from cigars, money that is used oftentimes to fund statewide anti-tobacco and healthcare campaigns. The states argue they stand to lose a significant amount of the $1.6 billion in non-cigarette excise taxes that are collected annually.[ref]The $1.6 billion was the number in 2014.[/ref]
Last week, attorneys for the three trade organizations filed for a motion of summary judgment centered around nine key points, two of which were the same points made in the brief filed by Brnovich.
“The government in D.C. may be a lot of things, but the people’s nanny shouldn’t be one of them,” said Brnovich in a statement provided to halfwheel. “Ronald Reagan warned us that a government that attempts to protect us from ourselves exceeds its limits. Our legal challenge is about preventing unnecessary regulations so that small business owners and entrepreneurs can focus on serving their adult customers instead of Washington bureaucrats.”
A hearing on the lawsuit is scheduled for July 28, 2017.