Ag News

Appeals court rejects NPPC/AFBF suit over California farm law

by Jay Stone, Georgia Farm Bureau

Posted on Aug 04, 2021 at 0:00 AM

By Jay Stone, Georgia Farm Bureau

On July 28, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a lower court’s verdict and rejected a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 12, which beginning in 2022 will ban sale of meat from animals confined in a manner inconsistent with California standards.

The suit, filed by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), argued that Proposition 12 violates the “dormant Commerce Clause,” which prohibits states from discriminating or unduly burdening interstate commerce.

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr was among numerous attorneys general who wrote amicus briefs for the NPPC and AFBF in the case.

“The complaint here fails to make a plausible allegation that the pork production industry is of such national concern that it is analogous to taxation or interstate travel, where uniform rules are crucial,” the court opinion reads. “Although the complaint plausibly alleges that Proposition 12 will have an impact on a national industry, we have already held that such impacts do not render the state law impermissibly extraterritorial.”

According to the court opinion written by Judge Sandra S. Ikuta, Proposition 12 does not violate the dormant Commerce Clause because it does not dictate prices. According to the court, the practical effects on how pork is produced and sold outside California do not qualify as impermissible under the dormant Commerce Clause.

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