© Reuters. U.S. President Joe Biden talks to the information media after arriving on Marine One from North Carolina, on the South Garden of the White Home, in Washington, U.S., March 28, 2023. REUTERS/Leah Millis
By Daniel Wiessner
(Reuters) – A federal choose in Texas on Tuesday refused to switch to a different court docket a lawsuit by Republican states difficult a Biden administration rule permitting socially aware investing by retirement plans, rejecting claims of “choose buying.”
U.S. District Choose Matthew Kacsmaryk in Amarillo, Texas, mentioned the Biden administration had supplied no proof that the litigation didn’t belong in his court docket or that plaintiffs had been making an attempt to govern the method.
By suing in Amarillo, the Republican states ensured that the case can be assigned to Kacsmaryk, an appointee of former U.S. President Donald Trump. His courthouse has change into a well-liked vacation spot for Republicans searching for to problem features of Democratic President Joe Biden’s agenda.
The choose has blocked guidelines on immigration and protections of gender-affirming procedures for transgender individuals. He’s presiding over a lawsuit by anti-abortion teams searching for to finish U.S. gross sales of the abortion capsule mifepristone.
In Tuesday’s case, 25 states together with an oil drilling firm and an oil and gasoline commerce group are searching for to dam a U.S. Division of Labor rule permitting worker retirement plans to think about environmental, social and company governance (ESG) components when investing.
They are saying the rule, which took impact Jan. 30, jeopardizes the retirement financial savings of thousands and thousands of Individuals and will decrease states’ tax income by triggering divestments from the oil and gasoline trade.
The Labor Division argues the rule is legitimate as a result of it nonetheless requires retirement plans to think about conventional monetary components when selecting investments.
The Biden administration mentioned final month the case had no connection to Amarillo and that the states selected that venue as a result of they knew it will be assigned to Kacsmaryk.
Administration attorneys requested the choose to switch the lawsuit to Washington, D.C. or the capital of one of many states that sued, comparable to Austin, Texas.
In response, the states added a enterprise proprietor who lives in Amarillo as a plaintiff.
Congress in early March voted to repeal the ESG rule, however Biden vetoed that invoice.
The rule has divided the enterprise group. Sectors that stand to lose investments, together with the oil and gasoline trade, oppose it whereas different companies have voiced assist for efforts to make ESG investing simpler.
The states in February moved to briefly block the rule pending the end result of the lawsuit.
Kacsmaryk can be presiding over a pending lawsuit accusing media corporations, together with Reuters, of violating federal antitrust legal guidelines by working with tech corporations to censor content material by opponents of COVID-19 vaccines. A Reuters spokesperson has denied the allegations.