This morning, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals gave opponents of Cross Border Trucking yet another devastating yet unsurprising loss in their efforts to prevent Mexican trucks from operating in the United States. Not all Mexican trucks of which there are thousands with legal authority to operate, but a select few enrolled in the Cross Border Pilot Program with Mexico.
The Court ruled against theOwner Operators Independent Drivers Association(OOIDA), International Brotherhood of Teamsters and Public Citizen denying all 13 of the claims these groups had made in their lawsuit against FMCSA.
Here’s the reactions from these groups and then we’ll look at the Courts decision and reasoning and you can make your own decision.
International Brotherhood of Teamsters:
The Teamsters had this to say, and it’s largely irrelevant spin.
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters is disappointed in the court’s decision upholding the legality of the pilot program to open our borders to unsafe Mexican trucks. The union is reviewing its options with our attorneys.
In the meantime, the Teamsters will continue to fight to uphold safety standards on our highways. Our members who drive for a living should not have to put their lives at risk because dangerous trucks are allowed free use of our roads.
It’s important to note that nothing in the court’s decision says Mexican trucks will be safe. In fact, the court found that Mexico-domiciled trucks don’t have to comply with federal safety requirements for vehicles introduced into interstate commerce. The judges concluded those requirements don’t apply to “foreign commerce.” We think this conclusion is not only wrong, but contradicts a previous D.C. Circuit opinion about safety regulations for tires: National Association of Motor Bus Owners v. Brinegar.
The court also found that it’s all right for some Mexican medical standards to be less stringent and some to be more stringent than U.S. standards. We argue that it matters that drivers are able to see red, yellow and green, a requirement in the U.S. but not in Mexico.
Finally, we don’t agree with the court that the U.S. Department of Transportation can be trusted to draw statistically valid conclusions from the pilot program about the safety of Mexican trucks. History has shown, and DOT has admitted, that it’s almost certain that very few Mexican carriers will participate in the program.
There is nothing said in this statement that comes even close to what the Court wrote in it’s opinion, but this type of misinformation has become the norm for Teamsters in regard to this issue.
Owner Operators Independent Drivers Association
“This whole program is a slap in the face to U.S. drivers that go to great lengths to comply with an ever-tightening regulatory noose,” Todd Spencer, executive vice president of the owner-operators association, said in an e-mailed statement. “If safety were truly a priority, standards would be held high on both sides of the border.”
While in the meantime, Norita Taylor, a spokeswoman for the Grain Valley, Missouri-based group, said a decision about whether to appeal hadn’t been made.
The court, in it’s decision, thoroughly debunked Spencer’s claims in all regards about the Mexican cross border program showing the increasing irrelevance of the associations Vice President with this issue.
As a friend noted elsewhere when news of this decision arrived in our in box this morning, “OOIDA’s move against the Mexican carriers is nothing more than OOIDA’s CEO disdain and prejudice against Hispanics. What a huge waste of members money.” After this, anyone care to bet CEO Jim Johnston feels like he got a prostate exam with a beach umbrella?
“We find none to be persuasive.”
Between Teamsters and OOIDA, 13 issues were raised. FMCSA responded saying that neither group had “standing” to bring the action. On this point, OOIDA & Teamsters won. But it was a hollow victory having to do with “competition” from bringing in Mexican carriers although if pressed, it’s doubtful either group could prove harm. However, had the Court found that the groups did not have standing, the entire lawsuit would have been tossed, and we wouldn’t have a ruling on the issues raised.
OOIDA advanced 7 distinct issues claiming the program violated various laws and statutes. It is very telling that in few words, the Justices made plain the way they were leaning.
“We find none to be persuasive” wrote Judge Kavanaugh who wrote the opinion for the panel.
You can download the entire opinion using the link below, study it and draw your own conclusion. Who’s opinion is more valid? A three judge panel of the appellate court with years of experience, or the opinion of Todd Spencer who opinions are formed by his bigoted superior to whom his continued employment depends on his compliance?
I also find it very satisfying that the opinions rendered by the Court, closely follow the opinions I’ve provided on this site when writing about this “frivolous and baseless” lawsuit.
And I also question the waste of members dues in paying a Washington DC law firm who’s lead counsel comes out with a comment such as this, again published in Landlinemag today.
“The court has apparently read laws passed by Congress intended to establish greater safeguards to ensure Mexican truckers comply with U.S. laws and safety standards and construed to them to give FMCSA authority to accept less than full compliance with U.S. safety laws by Mexican truckers,” said Paul Cullen Jr., with The Cullen Law Firm, OOIDA’s litigation counsel.
“OOIDA laid out careful, detailed arguments describing how Mexican laws do not meet U.S. safety standards and how the pilot program permits Mexican truckers not to comply with U.S. laws. It is disappointing that the Court’s opinion does not describe how it analyzed those issues.”
Apparently, Cullen didn’t bother reading the opinion as it seems to me, the Court lays out precisely their reasoning behind ruling as it did on each of the issues presented. But hey! It’s OOIDA and Teamsters where truth takes a back seat to peoples prejudices and agendas.
More on this later. You can count on it.
This post is part of the thread: Mexico Cross Border Pilot Program – an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.