Supreme Court Issues 5-4 Ruling in Closely Watched California Welfare Case


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The U.S. Supreme Court delivered a 5-4 ruling on Thursday to uphold a California animal welfare law that was passed by voters in the state that requires all pork sold in the state to meet certain humane standards.

“California voters in 2018 passed the measure, which strengthened space requirements for egg-laying hens, breeding pigs, and calves raised for veal that were ultimately sold by businesses in the state. The National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation attempted to block the law, contending it violates the Constitution because it would effectively require the industry, most of which is located outside of California, to transform,” The Hill reported.


In a 5-4 decision authored by Justice Neil Gorsuch, the high court rejected the challenge.

“While the Constitution addresses many weighty issues, the type of pork chops California merchants may sell is not on that list,” Gorsuch wrote. “Petitioners would have us cast aside caution for boldness.”

“They have failed — repeatedly — to persuade Congress to use its express Commerce Clause authority to adopt a uniform rule for pork production,” Gorsuch continued. “And they disavow any reliance on this Court’s core dormant Commerce Clause teachings focused on discriminatory state legislation. Instead, petitioners invite us to endorse two new theories of implied judicial power.”

“After lower courts sided with the state, the justices agreed to take up the group’s appeal to determine if the law violates a doctrine known as the dormant Commerce Clause, which explains that because the Constitution gives Congress the authority to regulate commerce among the several states, an individual state cannot pass laws that discriminate against other states in commerce. The pork industry conceded that the law, Proposition 12, did not discriminate against other states,” the outlet reported.


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