Brown's exact quote, as reported by Reuters: "The American auto industry is in deep trouble and they may require subsidies. They may have to be bailed out by the federal government that has just enabled their inefficiency and their gas guzzling. ... It may be to protect jobs, to protect our own domestic industry, they (US automakers) are going to require billions of tax support."
12 states have filed the lawsuit, which claims that the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration "failed to meet federal laws requiring the government to determine the impact of regulation on fuel conservation and the environment," according to Reuters. NHTSA says it doesn't need to do that because the standards worry about energy conservation, not environmental protection.