The National Foreign Trade Council is looking into filing a suit to challenge the constitutionality of an Illinois law requiring the state's public pension funds to divest investments in companies with ties to Sudan, said J. Daniel O'Flaherty, vice president.
Mr. O'Flaherty is meeting today in Chicago with regional members of the council — which comprises 300 member companies, mostly large multinationals, that promote policies fostering open international trade and investment — to discuss the possibility of filing the suit, which would challenge the authority of the state to make foreign policy by imposing economic sanctions. The Constitution gives that authority exclusively to the federal government, he said. A victory could set a precedent to apply to Sudan divestment laws in other states.
The group could file the suit in six weeks in U.S. District Court in Chicago, Mr. O'Flaherty said.
The Illinois law went into effect Jan. 27, giving public pension plans in the state 18 months to divest Sudan-related holdings.