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Court won't block Chrysler deal

WASHINGTON, June 9 (UPI) -- The full U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday night unanimously refused to block the sale of Chrysler LLC to Fiat, despite requests from challengers.

Three Indiana pension funds had asked Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to stop the sale, saying the sale and bankruptcy plan approved by the lower courts would severely devalue their loans to the automaker. Ginsburg temporarily blocked the sale Monday afternoon just when a U.S. appeals court ruling allowing the deal was about to take effect.

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After taking the action, however, she referred the stay request to the full court for a vote.

In a two-page "per curiam," or unsigned, opinion, the justices said the requests from the pension funds and others were denied.

The opinion pointed out that a stay of a lower-court ruling was not "a matter of right," and anyone making such a request would have to show that a stay would be justified, which had not been the case for the Chrysler deal challengers.

"The denial of a stay is not a decision on the underlying legal issues," the justices said, while adding "A stay is not a matter of right, even if irreparable injury might result."

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In an Obama administration brief filed Monday, U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan said the challengers have no standing to make their request.

Moreover, Chrysler is losing about $100 million a day as its factories lie idle, she said, and Fiat has expressed concern about the company's deteriorating condition.

"Granting a stay beyond Monday, June 15, jeopardizes the sale -- the only remaining alternative to the outright liquidation of Chrysler," Kagan wrote. "The Master Transaction Agreement sets June 15 as the deadline for the proposed sale to close. After that date, Fiat has the right to walk away."

She said any potential injury to the challengers "pales by comparison to the harms to (all the Chrysler) debtors and the public interest."

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