The American Trucking Associations suffered a setback in its attempt to have the U.S. Supreme Court strike down all concession requirements in the Port of Los Angeles clean-trucks program.
The Office of the Solicitor General advised the Supreme Court not to grant the request for a writ of certiorari by ATA, arguing that the 2011 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit does not warrant further review. ATA now has 12 days to file comments on the Solicitor General’s opinion and convince the office that the nation’s top court should hear the case.
ATA actually achieved a significant victory last year when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the most controversial concession requirement in the Los Angeles clean-truck plan was illegal.
Los Angeles required that harbor trucking companies hire drivers as direct employees. This requirement would have opened the door for unions such as the Teamsters to organize the drivers. The Ninth Circuit ruled that the employee mandate would violate the rates, routes and services provisions in federal preemption law.
Although ATA was pleased with that ruling, the trucking group wanted the court to strike down all of the concession requirements in the Los Angeles clean-trucks program, including those dealing with mandatory proof of financial responsibility, off-street parking of trucks and the use of placards on trucks.
ATA’s thinking is that allowing a state or local agency to regulate trucks involved in interstate commerce in any way is setting a dangerous precedent for other ports and should be found to be in violation of federal preemption law. ATA therefore sought to appeal the Ninth Circuit’s ruling to the Supreme Court.
Earlier this year the Supreme Court asked the Solicitor General for that office’s opinion. That is usually the first step the court takes before agreeing to hear a case.
The Port of Los Angeles, which decided not to appeal the Ninth Circuit’s ruling to the Supreme Court, was pleased by the Solicitor General’s opinion.
“The Port of Los Angeles agrees with the Solicitor General that this case does not meet the standard for review by the Supreme Court, as argued in our brief and concurred by the Natural Resources Defense Council, in opposition to the ATA’s petition for a writ of certiorari,” the port stated.
Curtis Whalen, executive director of ATA’s intermodal conference, said the trucking association will respond to the Solicitor General’s opinion in an attempt to have the Supreme Court hear the case. Whalen said the Solicitor General agreed with some of ATA’s arguments but decided nevertheless that the case does not deserve further review.
Whalen said he expects a final decision by the Supreme Court as to whether it will accept ATA’s writ for certiorari will be rendered by Jan. 7.