Court rejects Huawei’s lawsuit over federal defense spending law

A federal judge ruled today that Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei does not have grounds to sue the U.S. government over a law restricting its ability to do business with federal agencies and their contractors.

District Judge Amos Mazzant determined that Congress acted within its powers when it passed the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, including a provision that precludes agencies and contractors from buying certain equipment from Huawei and fellow Chinese networking giant ZTE.

Huawei argued the law was unnecessarily punitive and singled out individual companies in violation of their constitutional rights in a lawsuit filed last year. Lawmakers have argued that Huawei could use its networks to spy on behalf of the Chinese government — an assertion that the company has aggressively denied.

Though Mazzant found senators made “concerning comments” regarding Huawei, including remarks that the company deserved “the death penalty,” the words of individual lawmakers could not be interpreted as speaking for Congress at large.

The court also determined that Congress did not prevent Huawei from doing business in the U.S., but rather exercised its power to control how the federal government spends its money.

Separately, the Commerce Department has placed restrictions on trade between Huawei and private companies in the U.S. over similar national security concerns.

“Huawei is disappointed in today’s ruling and while we understand the paramount significance of national security, the approach taken by the U.S. Government in the 2019 NDAA provides a false sense of protection while undermining Huawei’s constitutional rights,” a Huawei spokesperson said in a statement. “We will continue to consider further legal options.”