The US Supreme Court handed a substantial victory to major tobacco firms Monday, refusing to consider an appeal that would have allowed the government to collect $280 billion of their profits. The decision not to hear the case may have serious consequences for long-running government efforts to penalize tobacco firms for 50 years of allegedly deceptive practices.
This is the second occasion in which the highest court in the land has refused to consider the government's case.
These practices, allegedly, were aimed at getting people hooked on smoking, which is the biggest cause of premature death in the United States.
Predictably, tobacco shares surged on news of the ruling.
The original suit had been launched by former president Bill Clinton's administration in 1999.
The Supreme Court rejected the US government's $280 billion claim from tobacco companies as penalties for deceiving the public for decades about the dangers of smoking and also rejected appeals from tobacco companies seeking to overturn the racketeering ruling of the District Court.