Make Lawsuits, Not War, Over OPEC Oil

President, states have standing in attempt to cap gushing prices
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 19, 2008 5:23 PM CDT
In this March 21, 2008, file photo, a Saudi man fills his tank at a gas station in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.   (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali, File)
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(Newser) – There’s no question OPEC’s price-fixing is illegal under American law, a former Reagan and Bush I adviser writes in the New York Times—so why not sue the oil cartel? US states are permitted to seek relief against aliens, and a joint suit by several attorneys general would point the way. “Isn’t starting a lawsuit better than starting a war?” Thomas Evans asks.

There remain a host of separation-of-powers issues, but if the court deemed the OPEC problem an executive prerogative, the president could rightfully permit the suit to go forward. At the very least, legal pressure would draw national and global attention to the cartel’s “destructive behavior”—and maybe even force a settlement with more market-based pricing.