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Supreme Court hands Trump win in China antitrust case

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The U.S. Supreme Court sided with the Trump administration and against China on Thursday on a disputed aspect of their fraught trade relationship, throwing out a lower court ruling that had allowed two Chinese vitamin C makers to escape $148 million in damages for violating American antitrust law.

In a case that brought the trade conflict between the world’s two largest economies before the top U.S. court, the justices ruled 9-0 that the lower court gave too much deference to Chinese government filings in the case explaining China’s regulatory policy.

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The justices sent the case back for reconsideration by the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which in 2016 threw out the damages won by two American vitamin C buyers.

Writing for the court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote that while U.S. courts should give “respectful consideration” to a foreign government’s interpretation of its own law, they are not “bound to accord conclusive effect to the foreign government’s statements.”

Lawyers for the U.S. and Chinese governments faced off in April before the justices. The Supreme Court took the unusual step of letting China present arguments even though it is not an official party in the case, a privilege typically reserved for the U.S. Justice Department.

The price-fixing case dates back to 2005 when Texas-based Animal Science Products Inc and New Jersey-based The Ranis Co Inc accused Hebei Welcome Pharmaceutical and North China Pharmaceutical Group and other Chinese vitamin C makers of antitrust violations.

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China intervened in the case, asking the trial court to dismiss the allegations in part because its laws had forced Chinese companies to comply with government-mandated pricing regimes.

A U.S. federal judge questioned the credibility of the Chinese submissions and, after a 2013 jury trial, awarded the two American companies $147.8 million in damages.

The New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the judgment in 2016, saying that when a foreign government directly participates in a case American courts are obligated to defer to that country’s characterization of its own laws.

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The Supreme Court itself did not weigh in on the correct interpretation of Chinese law, but Ginsburg said questions remained over “whether Chinese law required the Chinese sellers’ conduct.”

China and the United States are locked in a simmering trade dispute. President Donald Trump has accused China of unfair trade practices and threatened to impose tariffs on up to $150 billion in Chinese goods over allegations of intellectual property theft. China has warned of retaliation.


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‘Time to go to court’: Former prosecutors explain how Democrats can still uncover whistleblower scandal

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The White House is doing whatever it takes to obstruct any investigation into a recent whistleblower complaint, but two former prosecutors have ideas for what Congress should do next.

This week it was revealed that President Donald Trump said something so concerning to a foreign leader that a senior intelligence officer filed a complaint. The officer then filed for whistleblower protections. A series of actions are outlined in the law for the next steps, but Trump and his appointed officials in the White House have worked to stymie the process the law requires.

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Hate for Trump sets new record of Americans who can’t stand a president

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A new poll shows a record number of Americans can't stand the president of the United States.

According to the most recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal public opinion poll, an astounding 69 percent of Americans don't like Trump personally.

During the early 2000s, President George W. Bush enjoyed the benefit of Americans finding him likable and wanting to "have a beer" with the sober leader. That measure of "likability" has been a kind of inspiration for political leaders searching for voters based not on issues but on personality.

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‘Clearly impeachable and serious offense’: Ex-organized crime prosecutor says of Trump’s Ukraine scandal

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Former Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks recalled during an MSNBC panel discussion that she was once the prosecutor for organized crime. It was something that reminded her of this recent move by President Donald Trump and his administration.

This week, it was revealed that Trump said something to a foreign leader that was so concerning to a senior intelligence officer that a complaint was filed and the officer sought whistleblower protections. The White House is now working to obstruct any investigation about the complaint.

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