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Ralls Corp. v. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States

758 F.3d 296 (2014)

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Ralls Corp. v. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

758 F.3d 296 (2014)

Facts

In 2012, Ralls Corporation (Ralls) (plaintiff) purchased four American limited-liability companies (project companies) that were previously formed to develop windfarms in Oregon. The project companies’ sites were located in and around restricted airspace and bombing zones maintained by the United States Navy. The owners of Ralls were both Chinese nationals. Ralls submitted a notice to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) (defendant) to inform it of Ralls’s acquisition and why Ralls did not believe it was a national-security threat. CFIUS initiated a review and determined that Ralls’s acquisition of the project companies threatened national security and issued temporary mitigation orders to restrict Ralls’s access to the project companies’ sites and prevent construction at the sites (CFIUS order). The matter was submitted to the president of the United States (defendant). After considering information regarding Ralls’s transaction’s effect on national security, the president, like CFIUS, determined that Ralls was a threat to national security. The president issued a permanent order (presidential order) that prohibited Ralls’s purchase of the project companies and required Ralls to divest itself from them. Neither CFIUS nor the president provided Ralls the opportunity to review and rebut the evidence they relied upon to make their determinations. Ralls sued CFIUS and the president in district court, claiming that the CFIUS order and presidential order violated Ralls’s constitutional due-process rights. The district court dismissed the claim, finding that Ralls did not have constitutionally protected property interests because Ralls acquired its property interests subject to the risk of a presidential veto and waived the opportunity to obtain a determination from CFIUS and the president before entering the transaction. Ralls appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Henderson, J.)

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