With the Supreme Court being as it is right now, I suspect this has a good chance of being overturned on appeal. Justice Roberts will no doubt be chomping at the bit to take on this case as it involves his favorite pastime: Protecting corporate greed, excusing blatant malfeasance and cheer-leading profit over safety.
A federal appeals court dealt a blow to cigarette makers yesterday by upholding a landmark 2006 ruling that the companies lied for decades about the dangers of smoking.
In a 93-page opinion, a three-judge panel cleared the way for new restrictions on how cigarette companies market and sell their products. Under the decision, the manufacturers will no longer be allowed to label brands "light" or "low tar" and will have to purchase ads on television and in major newspapers that explain the health dangers and addictiveness of their products.
Tobacco companies indicated that they will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, a process that would probably put compliance with the ruling on hold for at least several months.
The Justice Department issued a statement late yesterday that called the decision "a victory for the American people."
Chuck D. Connor, president and chief executive of the American Lung Association, said the decision "is almost everything we could have hoped for," adding: "It's a very sweeping and tremendous indictment against the industry."
Yesterday's ruling largely upheld a 1,653-page opinion issued by U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler that found the companies engaged in a massive civil racketeering scheme that defrauded the public about smoking's hazards.
Kessler found that the companies "marketed and sold their lethal product with zeal, with deception, with a single-minded focus on their financial success and without regard for the human tragedy or social costs that success exacted."