Livestock News

Meat Institute asks Supreme Court to review California’s Prop 12

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The North American Meat Institute today filed a petition for a writ of certiorari asking the Supreme Court of the United States to review an earlier ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in the Meat Institute’s challenge to the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 12: The Farm Animal Confinement Initiative. The Meat Institute opposes the law, saying it is unconstitutional and will hurt the nation’s food value chain by significantly increasing costs for producers and consumers.

“Prop 12 hurts the family on a budget by causing higher prices for pork, veal and eggs, and unfairly punishes livestock producers outside of California by forcing them to spend millions just to access California markets,” said Meat Institute President and CEO Julie Anna Potts. “If this unconstitutional law is allowed to stand, California will dictate farming practices across the nation.”

The question presented in the case is whether the U.S. Constitution permits California to extend its police power beyond its territorial borders by banning the sale of wholesome pork and veal products sold into California unless out-of-state farmers restructure their facilities to meet animal-confinement standards dictated by California. The petition may be found here.

In its brief, the Meat Institute urged the court to grant review because the “Ninth Circuit’s decision conflicts with the decisions of other federal courts of appeals on the question whether the Constitution limits a State’s ability to extend its police power beyond its territorial borders through a trade barrier dictating production standards in other States and countries.” Allowing Prop 12 to stand “insulates in-state farmers from out-of-state competition, while imposing crushing burdens on out-of-state farmers and producers who have no political voice to shape the regulations that California has unilaterally determined to foist upon their operations outside of California.”

In the Ninth Circuit, the Meat Institute’s lawsuit was supported by amicus curiae briefs filed by the United States on behalf of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, by 20 sovereign states, and by the National Association of Manufacturers, Chamber of Commerce, and Food Marketing Institute.

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