Jul. 27 2001
Washington, DC — It is no surprise that U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler has upheld her own previous ruling dismissing two claims in the federal government's federal tobacco lawsuit. Judges rarely overrule themselves. Today's ruling does not in any way affect the government's ability to pursue this case under the remaining racketeering claims that are the most powerful parts of the government's case and potentially the most devastating to the industry. If the government succeeds, it could force the industry to give up billions of dollars in ill-gotten profits and bring about fundamental change in industry practices, such as marketing to kids. Judge Kessler herself stated that neither of her rulings today "changes the current posture of the case."
The government has a strong case to make given the tobacco industry's long history of wrongdoing, and we believe the government should vigorously pursue the case in court rather than seeking to settle it prematurely as it is currently trying to do. More than 12,000 Americans have contacted the White House with phone calls and faxes to say that they want their day in court against the tobacco industry, and the President and the Attorney General should heed their voices.