Washington, DC - The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) released the following statement in response to today’s ruling by the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to deem the Illinois “Act to End Terrorism and Atrocities in the Sudan” unconstitutional.
“We are very pleased that Judge Kennelly agreed with us that the Illinois Sudan Divestment Act is unconstitutional and has enjoined the state from enforcing it,” said NFTC President Bill Reinsch. “The judge has written a lengthy opinion, and we will have to study it carefully before commenting in detail.”
On August 7, 2006, the NFTC and eight boards of Illinois public employee pension funds filed a lawsuit (NFTC v. Topinka) in challenging the constitutionality of the Illinois Act.
NFTC retained law firm Winston & Strawn, LLP, to litigate the case.
The NFTC lawsuit followed the precedent set in the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2000 decision in Crosby v. NFTC, in which the Court struck down sanctions enacted by Massachusetts on Burma. In that decision the Court ruled that if the federal government has enacted sanctions on a country, state and local governments are preempted from imposing sanctions of their own.
As Reinsch stated when the lawsuit was filed in August, “NFTC supports the efforts of the Bush Administration to bring peace to Sudan and to end the brutality that has been occurring in Darfur,” said Bill Reinsch, president of NFTC. “However, state sanctions, like those enacted by the state of Illinois, work at cross purposes with federal policy. That is why the Supreme Court ruled as it did in 2000 and why we brought suit under that precedent,” said Reinsch.
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The National Foreign Trade Council (www.nftc.org) is a leading business organization advocating an open, rules-based global trading system. Founded in 1914 by a broad-based group of American companies, the NFTC now serves hundreds of member companies through its offices in