Court Tosses Challenge to Advisory Committee Act

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – A federal trade advisory committee cannot be found to lack “fairly balanced” membership because the applicable laws are not specific enough, the 9th Circuit ruled.

     The Department of Commerce gets trade advice from Industry Trade Advisory Committees.
     The Center for Policy Analysis on Trade and Health and three other groups sued the department, claiming the public health sector was underrepresented in six advisory committees, violating the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) requirement for “fairly balanced” membership.
     Judge Smith agreed with the district court that the act lacks meaningful, applicable standards, and a three-judge panel affirmed dismissal of the complaint.
     “FACA does not define what constitutes a fairly balanced committee,” Smith wrote, “in terms of points of view represented or functionality, or how that balance is to be determined.”

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