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The auto industry has added a legal slugger to its roster as it prepares for the next round of a court fight over whether states can set their own fuel economy rules. A Vermont federal court shocked the industry last month with its ruling that California and 14 other states can regulate greenhouse gases from cars and trucks.

Just before the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers filed its appeal Friday, it expanded its list of lawyers to include Kathleen Sullivan, a partner at the New York law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges. Sullivan, a former dean of the Stanford Law School, co-wrote the preferred textbook on constitutional law, has argued four cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and has even been talked up as a possible high court nominee.

With automakers saying the ruling could force them out of business, and states demanding action on global warming, Sullivan could be back to the Supremes for No. 5.

By Justin Hyde

 
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