The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on 11 October in National Pork Producers Council v Karen Ross. On March 28, the court granted a writ of transfer, formally placing California Proposition 12 on the docket.
This means that at least four of the nine justices want to hear the matter.
Timothy S. Bishop, Mayer Brown LLP, Chicago, on behalf of the Pork Producers Council et al. California Attorney General Samuel Thomas Harbert, attorney Bruce Andrew Wageman of Riley, Safer Holmes & Cancila LLP, and Richard Mathew Wise of the California Department of Justice ) on the other side.
Defendant Ross in her official capacity as California Secretary of Food and Agriculture.
During oral arguments, each side has approximately 30 minutes. The Supreme Court decides before its term ends, meaning a final decision may not be reached until June 2023.
The question is whether sweeping proposals passed by voters in 2018 would hinder the sale of certain poultry and pork products in California from areas that do not meet the state’s animal husbandry standards. The oft-overturned U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld Proposition 12, but pork producers claimed it violated the U.S. Constitution’s interstate commerce clause.
The issue is the filing of amicus curiae papers with the High Court. Most importantly, U.S. Attorney General Elizabeth B. Prelog supports interstate commerce provisions and pork producers.
California said, “The only Proposition 12-compliant pork that out-of-state businesses must produce is the pork they choose to supply to the California market; they are free to produce any number of other pork products and sell it to markets outside of California.
“In this regard, Proposition 12 is no different from other long-standing state sales restrictions that require that if they choose to participate in the enacting state’s market , state producers can use specific labels or adhere to specific quality or safety standards. “
Pork producers argue that Proposition 12 “is an arbitrary standard designed without any scientific, technical or agricultural basis.” This is unreasonable and counterproductive to promote animal health and safety. And, they said, Proposition 12 “would reverse decades of progress in farm efficiency, undercut the global competitiveness of the U.S. pork industry, and raise food prices, making this high-quality protein less affordable to more consumers.” . “
The case file, now over 11 pages, will likely continue to grow.
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