Richard Samp of the Washington Legal Foundation reports that DC-based U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly has chosen to look the other way in the face of compelling evidence that Federal Trade Commission lawyers are using a sham investigation to extort a pharmaceutical company. Samp describes the judge’s “remarkably deferential” opinion upholding an FTC demand to subpoena the pharmaceutical company’s CEO. He adds that unless this decision is overturned on appeal, the FTC will “embolden” future abuses of power. Of course, Samp identifies the root of the problem:
District of Columbia-based judges applying a body of case-law created to consistently give federal agencies a robust benefit of the doubt cannot effectively restrain federal official’s abuse of their vast authority and discretion. Rulings such as Judge Kollar-Kotelly’s send a rather clear signal to federal regulators and prosecutors: do what you need to do to advance your agendas aimed at restricting economic conduct. We’ve got your back.
UPDATE: To further prove Samp’s point — and show the breadth of the FTC’s disdain for all market participants — I just learned that last week the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld another FTC order against the Christian organization Daniel Chapter One. The FTC prohibited the group from making religious-based statements about the medicinal value of herbal and other natural supplements. The FTC said customers could only receive FDA-approved statements. The D.C. Circuit issued only a brief, unsigned opinion affirming the FTC’s supremacy over the First Amendment’s establishment and free exercise clauses.