REMARKS – Teamsters and Owner-Operators join forces at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit petitioning to overturn Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration authorization of pilot program that allows Mexico-domiciled motor carriers to operate their trucks throughout the United States pursuant to NAFTA –held: Petitions denied and pilot program is supported by law. COMMENT: Absent U.S. Supreme Court intervention to the contrary, this NAFTA-based pilot program will become part of the commercial context of the U.S. trucking industry – and query: Will it become a scaled-up involvement of Mexican trucking firms competing in the U.S. domestic market?


International Board of Teamsters, et al. v. U.S. Department of Transportation, No.s 11-1444, 11-1251 (U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, April 19, 2013). Free copy from the court available here.

Legal Take-Away:

Teamsters union and Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association each held to have “standing” to bring this petition. But all legal grounds on which they challenged the pilot program were rejected in the appeals court’s opinion.

The gist: This court may not strike down the pilot as inconsistent with existing federal statutes because between the NAFTA Treaty as ratified and related congressional enactments thereafter there is no disconnect between existing federal trucking safety standards and the pilot program as set up by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Practical Take-Away:

Those objecting to what Congress enacted in regard to NAFTA and the U.S. domestic trucking industry can delay implementation through litigation like this, but it is difficult to stop through administrative or court channels what Congress has approved in legislation signed by the president.