The National Chicken Council, American Petroleum Institute (API), and a coalition of other groups from the food-production industry filed a petition yesterday for a writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court.  A Petition for Writ of Certiorari is a document that a losing party files with the Supreme Court asking the Supreme Court to review the decision of a lower court.  The petition includes a statement of the facts of the case, the legal questions presented for review, and arguments as to why the Court should grant the writ.

This petition arises from a lawsuit filed in the D.C. Circuit, in which trade associations from three industries–food-production, petroleum, and engine-products–challenged a decision by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to allow 50 percent more ethanol in transportation fuel.

A majority of the three-judge panel hearing the case resulting from the lawsuit concluded that none of the trade associations from the petroleum or engine-products industries had standing to challenge the decision; that is, these industries had not demonstrated that they were substantially likely to be harmed.  The majority concluded that the food-production groups could not bring suit because they were not in the “zone of interests” of the statute giving rise to the legal claim, which is the Clean Air Act.  One judge, Judge Kavanaugh, dissented from the majority’s decision, stressing that the food-production and petroleum industries would be “palpably and negatively affected” by the introduction of more ethanol into transportation fuel.  All three industry groups requested that the D.C. Circuit re-hear the case en banc, but the court declined to do so.

NCC, API, and the other food-production associations are arguing in their petition for certiorari that the Supreme Court should take up the case because the D.C. Circuit’s decision conflicts with the decisions of other federal courts of appeals, as well as the decisions of the Supreme Court, on the requirements for standing.  The petition highlights Judge Kavanaugh’s dissents from the three-judge panel decision and from the denial of rehearing en banc, both of which suggest that the Supreme Court should review the case.  The petition also emphasizes that the D.C. Circuit’s decision leaves an important agency decision, which will undoubtedly affect a wide variety of industries and consumers, completely insulated from judicial review.