There was a tone of regret in Justice Sandra DayO’Connor’s voice as she announced the landmarkdecision Tuesday that the Food and DrugAdministration has no jurisdiction over tobaccoproducts.

No matter how harmful tobacco is, she said,Congress, “for better or worse,” has not given the FDA the power to regulate tobacco that the Clinton administration so fervently sought.Remorseful or not, O’Connor’s 5-4 ruling hands asignificant victory to the tobacco industry thatcould also rein in other federal agencies that seek to extend their regulatory reach.