So that’s over and done with, and truthfully, it is all anti-climatic.
On Tuesday, February 12, the 9th Circuit heard oral arguments on the frivolous lawsuit brought before it by the Teamsters, OOIDA, Sierra Club and Public Citizen.
The day started with members of the Teamsters showing their ass in a demonstration in front of the Federal Courthouse. The Teamsters claim 450 in attendance but other news sources put the attendance at around 100, a fact that photos of the event seem to sustain.
At least a hundred Teamsters rallied outside the courthouse before the hearing. Teamsters carried signs that read “NAFTA Kills” and “Fire Mary Peters.”
At issue is the legality of the program and this will all center around the definition of the word “establish”. One Justice seems to think that the wording to the amendment is “unambiguous” while a second Justice supports the fact that it does not apply to this program which was established before the amendment was inserted into the Omnibus Spending Bill. The third Justice has not let his thoughts on the matter be known.
But the arguments went all over the place, each one more idiotic than the one before it.
OOIDA claimed that Mexican trucks are not held to the same safety standards as US trucks and in a manner of speaking, they are correct. Evidence shows that Mexican carriers are held to a slightly higher standard than US and Canadian trucks in regards to the fact that they must pass a Pre Authorization Safety Audit before receiving OP-1 authority to operate in the US, as opposed to US and Canadian trucks who are issued provisional authority pending their first audit in 18 months.
They also questioned the differences in US CDL’s and Mexican Licencia Federal de Conductores which is a non issue. In a mutual agreement signed in 1992, it was acknowledged that the Licencia Federal is basically the same as the US CDL.
Jimmy Hoffa began the week with a media blitz of misinformation and deliberate lies. People do this when they fear they are on the losing end of the argument.
In the Detroit News and again in the Arizona Republic, Hoffa’s comments were published. He made reference to the accident on the Pharr-Reynosa bridge last month, which had absolutely nothing to do with the cross border program nor the carriers involved in the project. In another article, he mentions the Coahuila truck explosion last year and insinuates that this is indicative of the Mexican transportation industry, while failing to note that the cause of that accident was a four wheeler returning from a beer run and hitting the tractor trailer while making an illegal pass.
The Teamsters also had a “victim” tell his story of losing family members to a “Mexican Truck” accident which according to Hoffa, could have been prevented. But no evidence nor further comment to establish this. The Teamsters as usual are full of insinuations but short on facts to back up their assertions.
The Justices asked interesting questions, such as the validity of OOIDA’s claims regarding SAFERSYS stats that predate the program. Todd Spencer has continually used twisted facts and anecdotal evidence concerning the Border shuttle fleets to convince the American public that these are the trucks which will participate in the program.
So now we wait! If you are holding your breath thinking a decision is imminent, don’t! Remember the appeals before the 5th Circuit of the two convicted felons Ramos and Compean? Their supporters thought they would be out by Christmas? Still no word after three months and 5th Circuit is a much smaller Court.
And if the 9th Circuit rules in favor of the Plaintiffs, will that put an immediate end to the Pilot Program? Not on your life. The Government can ask for a hearing before the full court which will delay it further. And the 9th has shown time and again their unwillingness to issue an injunction in this case.
And from the words of Jimmy Hoffa, and the scare tactics being employed by Joan Claybrook and others, It appears they realize that they may be on the losing end, as they well should be.
Public Citizen has put up a copycat website, Stop Nafta Trucks where they have this silly little Youtube video purporting to be Mexican truck accidents. In reality, with the exception of the opening scene, these are all accidents which have occurred on US highways by US carriers. They’ve all made the news.
As a spokesman for FMCSA pointed out, “This is what you do when the facts are not on your side and you continue to lose in Court”! Very true words.