October 17, 2008
On Monday, October 6, the Supreme Court officially opened the October 2008 term by hearing oral argument in Altria Group v. Good. This case arises from an attempt by three long-time smokers of light cigarettes to sue the cigarette manufacturers under Maine's Fair Trade Practices Act claiming that the manufacturers knew all along that light cigarettes would not deliver less tar or nicotine to the smoker. The Federal District Court dismissed the case, reasoning that it was based on health-hazard claims preempted expressly by the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Marketing Act and impliedly by Federal Trade Commission policy. The First Circuit reinstated the lawsuit, rejecting both claims of preemption, and now the Supreme Court considers the question of whether federal law in fact preempts such state-law challenges to FTC-authorized statements in cigarette advertising, either expressly or impliedly. University of Illinois Professor of Law Andrew Morriss discusses the case.
Oral Argument - October 6, 2008: