SCOTUS Oral Arguments Set on Prop 12

Supreme Court to Hear Prop 12 Oral Arguments in October


By Todd Neeley, DTN/Progressive Farmer 



LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) -- The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on Oct. 11 in the National Pork Producers Council's and American Farm Bureau Federation's legal challenge to California's Proposition 12, the court announced this week.


The law, which took effect on Jan. 1, essentially bans the sale of pork from hogs that fail to meet the state's new production standards.


Also this week, the Pacific Legal Foundation and two other parties filed legal briefs in the case in support of the ag petition.


The ag groups' petition, filed in September 2021, followed a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit July 2020 ruling that upheld a lower court ruling against the groups. The ag groups had asked the Ninth Circuit for an injunction to stop the law from taking effect.


The law requires hog producers to abide by certain regulations to sell pork in California. Voters in the state passed Proposition 12 in 2018 with nearly 63% of votes supporting it. The law forbids the sale of whole pork meat in California from hogs born of sows not housed in conformity with the law. Proposition 12 forbids sows from being confined in such a way that they cannot lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs, or turn around without touching the sides of their stalls or other animals.


"If California is permitted to govern pig farming standards nationwide, requiring farms to either reduce herd sizes or build new facilities, the inevitable result is increased prices in transactions with no California connection, farms driven out of business, and higher costs at the supermarket," PLF said in its amicus brief filed this week.


"Fortunately, the framers of the Constitution were well aware of states' proclivity to diminish trade during the Articles of Confederation era, and multiple provisions of the Constitution ensure protection to individual tradespeople from overreaching state laws that extend beyond state borders."


PLF said the "overall structure" of the Constitution "values free trade" among the states.


"The Commerce Clause should be read in a manner consistent with other constitutional provisions designed to ensure interstate parity," PLF said...