The U.S. Supreme Court voted on Monday not to hear an appeal from several ag equipment manufacturers seeking to overturn a New Hampshire dealer law. After the vote, AEM issued the following statement:
“The Association of Equipment Manufacturers is disappointed that the U.S. Supreme Court will not review the constitutionality of a New Hampshire law that expands the dealer law related to auto manufacturers to also cover the manufacturer-dealer relationship for many types of farm, construction and industrial equipment.
“In a friend-of the court brief filed by AEM, the National Association of Manufacturers and other organizations, AEM urged the Court to void anti-competitive protectionist state legislation that retroactively rewrites or essentially voids contracts with New Hampshire equipment dealers – long after the ink has dried – in order to level the playing field between the parties. Such legislative interference unquestionably frustrates the reasonable expectations of private parties who have signed binding, perfectly legal contracts.
“The U.S. Supreme Court’s action not to review this case does not mean or imply that the High Court agrees with the New Hampshire supreme court’s affirmation of this legislation. To the contrary, review was not granted because four Justices on the short-handed Court did not vote to hear the case.
“Nor does the New Hampshire supreme court opinion qualify as controlling legal precedent in any federal or state court outside of New Hampshire.
“Cases decided in several federal circuit courts of appeal have held that retroactive application of a state law to pre-existing dealer contracts and other private contracts does violate the U.S. Constitution’s Contracts Clause. These decisions are controlling or persuasive legal precedent in federal courts in over a dozen states within these federal circuits, and persuasive authority in all other state and federal courts.
“Future legislative attempts to rewrite equipment dealer contracts will face similar opposition and legal challenges as those advanced against the New Hampshire law. AEM and its members will continue to advocate prospective application to laws that affect private contracts as intended by the U.S. and State Constitutions.”
For more information, please contact Nick Yaksich, AEM senior vice president and head of AEM’s DC office (firstname.lastname@example.org, tel: 202-898-9064).