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UKS | Tweed Victory

On March 23, 2020, Updike, Kelly & Spellacy (“UKS”) achieved another major victory for the Tweed New Haven Airport Authority (“Tweed”) when the United States Supreme Court denied the State of Connecticut’s Petition for Certiorari, wherein the State (William Tong, in his official capacity as Attorney General for the State of Connecticut) petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review the July 9, 2019 unanimous decision of the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals in favor of Tweed. In that decision, the Second Court declared unconstitutional under the federal Supremacy Clause, and invalidated, a Connecticut state statute limiting the length of the primary runway at the Tweed-New Haven Airport (the “Airport”). The Second Circuit Court of Appeals held that the state statute was preempted by the Federal Aviation Act. Please see the following link taking you to our previous posting last summer describing the background and Tweed victory in the Second Circuit, and its positive consequences for the Airport. Click here.

As noted then, Tweed prevailed on the jurisdictional issue, on the preemption issue and on a significant issue of first impression in the Second Circuit; namely that Tweed, a political subdivision of the State of Connecticut, may sue its state under the Supremacy Clause. In its decision, the Second Circuit reversed the judgment of the U.S. District Court and remanded the case to that court for entry of judgment in favor of Tweed. Reversal of a decision of the District Court by the Court of Appeals in the Second Circuit generally is not to be anticipated, and the decision, in essence, overruled not only the lower court, but also the prior determinations of the legislative and executive branches of the State of Connecticut. UKS’ creative legal solution and successful outcome has led to the client’s precise goal and desired opportunity to extend the length of the runway thereby permitting larger aircraft to fly into and out of Tweed and allowing passengers to fly to additional destinations. UKS has served as general counsel to Tweed since 1999.