OOIDA continues ELD fight following Supreme Court's pass on hearing case

By Jami Jones, Land Line managing editor | Monday, June 12, 2017

The U.S. Supreme Court denied OOIDA’s petition requesting that the court hear the Association’s case against the electronic log mandate. The court announced the denial Monday, June 12.

“We are extremely disappointed that the Supreme Court does not see the merit in reviewing our case with so many questions about its constitutionality,” OOIDA President Jim Johnston said.

“We will continue to pursue the issue on the congressional side as there are still many questions about the technical specifications and enforcement aspects of the mandate. Until the government is able to answer many fundamental and basic questions about the mandate, they should at least delay its implementation.”

Truckers’ rights under the Fourth Amendment were front and center in the OOIDA petition asking the Supreme Court to review the Association’s case on the electronic logging mandate.

The case primarily involved warrantless searches and seizures under the Fourth Amendment. In its petition to the Supreme Court, OOIDA also asked the court to determine whether the ELD rule violates the Fourth Amendment by failing to establish a regulatory structure at the state and federal levels that serves as a constitutionally adequate substitute for a warrant. In short, are there adequate restrictions on the ways the data is collected by the ELDs and used by state and federal law enforcement agencies?

“The mandate is the equivalent of warrantless surveillance of truckers, and it violates their Fourth Amendment rights. That intrusion on the rights of hard-working Americans cannot be justified. The mandate will not improve safety,” Johnston said. “It will, however, be another costly regulatory burden heaped upon an already over-regulated industry.”

Johnston explained that the denial leaves the constitutionality of the regulation unanswered.

He pointed out that the denial of the petition – called a Writ of Certiorari – does not constitute the Supreme Court’ approval of the decision of the Seventh Circuit. 

“Cert denied means only one thing. The court, by refusing the case, is not taking a position on the case one way or another,” Johnston said.

He said the Association’s law firm, the Cullen Law Firm, is continuing to look at and evaluate other options for addressing the ELD rule.

And that’s not the only avenue that OOIDA is pursuing in its fight against the upcoming regulation.

“As hopeful as we were that the Supreme Court would hear our case, OOIDA has been diligent in working on other alternatives to prevent this burdensome regulation from going into effect in December. One of our options has been and continues to be Congress,” OOIDA Director of Government Affairs Mike Matousek told Land Line.

“We are still very much in this fight in Congress. We’re hoping to have more information soon, but we are hopeful that Congress will consider a delay or repeal through the appropriations process, a stand-alone bill, or as part of a larger regulatory reform effort.”

Matousek pointed to the current climate in Washington, D.C., and to focus on regulatory reform as a big door opening for truckers seeking repeal of the logging mandate.

“The Trump administration’s objective of reducing regulatory burdens makes the prospect of the repeal of this $2 billion mandate all the more possible.”

Matousek said there remains a possibility that FMCSA could delay or repeal their ruling on its own as part of Trump’s regulatory reform initiative. He acknowledged that while that could be less likely following the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the case, it’s not entirely out of the picture. One holdup on that end is the fact that the FMCSA has yet to have an administrator nominated. Once that happens, regulatory reform options at the agency level increase.

Rather than wait for that appointment, Matousek said OOIDA is concentrating efforts on Congress and said truckers will play a big role in any legislative fix.

“The key is that now, more than ever, truckers need to call their representative and senators and urge them to repeal this ELD mandate. It will take a lot of, and consistent, communication with your lawmakers. But it can be done,” Matousek said.

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