Supreme Court Delays Chrysler-Fiat Deal

The Supreme Court Monday afternoon put the brakes on an Obama administration-ordered merger between Chrysler and Fiat, saying that they wanted to examine the deal further before allowing it to be finalized. With the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the ruling of U.S. Bankruptcy Judge to authorize the sale of Chrysler to Italian automaker Fiat, Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R), the state official who petitioned the courts to nullify the deal, had nearly reached the end of legal avenues he can pursue. The circuit court, while keeping intact the ruling of the bankruptcy court, had on Friday extended a stay on the merger’s finalization until 4:00 p.m. today so that Mourdock could appeal to liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the member of the high court responsible for emergency appeals to 2nd Circuit decisions, to issue a longer stay.  

Late this afternoon, Ginsburg did just that, issuing a ruling suspending the merger indefinitely, citing her desire for the court to have more time to examine the details of this government-backed marriage between the American and Italian automakers. Ginsburg’s ruling will likely give Mourdock the opportunity to ask the full nine-member court to grant certiorari, a legal term for permission to hear the case.  A grant of certiorari requires the affirmation of four justices.

Mourdock, until recently a relatively low-profile Hoosier State official, has recently attracted national attention due to his controversial decision to, on behalf of three of his state’s pension funds, contest the government’s forced merger of Chrysler and Fiat.  In an interview last week with HUMAN EVENTS’ John Gizzi, the Indiana Republican argued that the merger is a clear violation of the 5th Amendment’s “takings clause” — the constitutional guarantee that private property cannot be taken “without due process.” 

Under the Chrysler-Fiat deal, three of the American car company’s secured creditors — all state pension funds in Indiana — are slated to lose more than 70% of their entitled earnings.  Absent a grant for an appeal from Ginsburg, the deal would have become finalized at 4:01pm today.

Mourdock could not be immediately reached for comment following the decision but earlier today in interview said, “I hope the Supreme Court makes the right decision and lets the full nine-member panel hear the case.”