“If the rule of law means anything, it means that liability may attach only to violations of clearly established regulations with the force of law.”
—Cory Andrews, WLF Vice President of Litigation

Click here for WLF’s brief.

WASHINGTON, DC—Washington Legal Foundation (WLF) yesterday joined a coalition of leading business groups in an amicus curiae brief asking a federal court to ensure that federal regulatory actions comport with the rule of law.

The lawsuit asks the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas to clarify the roles and responsibilities of pharmacists and pharmacies under the Controlled Substances Act. Although no federal law or regulation requires a pharmacist to independently verify the medical justification for every drug prescription written by a licensed, practicing physician, Department of Justice (DOJ) and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) officials have recently threatened an enforcement action against pharmacies for filling allegedly “suspicious” prescriptions.  

In an amicus brief joined also by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Retail Federation, and the Retail Litigation Center, Inc., WLF argued that a federal agency’s power to regulate private conduct exists only as authorized by Congress and may be exercised only in a manner consistent with federal law. As a result, DOJ and DEA cannot use vague, sub-regulatory guidance as the basis for an enforcement action. WLF calls on the court to stop DOJ and DEA from enforcing non-binding guidance that lacks the force of law.

WLF’s brief was prepared by Megan Brown, Stephen J. Obermeier, Jeremy J Broggi, Wesley E. Weeks, and Boyd Garriott of Wiley Rein LLP.

Celebrating its 43rd year, WLF is America’s premier public-interest law firm and policy center advocating for free-market principles, limited government, individual liberty, and the rule of law.