Legal Challenges to Prop 12 Continue With Support from 20 States

Brian GermanAgri-Business, Industry

The legal challenges brought against California’s Proposition 12 are continuing to move forward. The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), and the North American Meat Institute (NAMI) are all involved in legal proceedings against Prop 12. As it stands, the California law pertaining to animal housing standards is set to become effective beginning on January 1, 2022. The court battles are taking place at the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Prop 12

Twenty states have filed an amicus curiae brief with the Supreme Court, in support of NAMI’s petition challenging the constitutionality of Prop 12. The States contend that the implementation of the law may result in the “transformation of America’s current integrated national market into a patchwork of regulatory regions.” In the brief, the States point out that the law will have serious economic repercussions. The judges must weight whether California has the authority to ban the sale of products sold within the state unless out-of-state producers conform to California standards.

“The governments of nearly half the states agree,” NAMI President and CEO, Julie Anna Potts stated, “if California is allowed to apply its laws to conduct in other states, a single state will dictate policies in all others, encouraging a patchwork of regulations and threatening the free flow of interstate commerce.”

NPCC and AFBF’s legal challenge to Prop 12 is unfolding in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Pasadena. Attorneys for the groups recently finished giving their oral arguments in the case. The three-judge panel consists of Judges Milan Dale Smith Jr., Sandra Ikuta, and John E. Steele. The two ag groups have asserted that the animal housing requirements for pigs violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

NPCC contends that less than one percent of the pork produced in the U.S. conforms to Prop 12 requirements. California pork demand requires approximately 700,000 sows, which in-state producers cannot supply. NPCC has argued that Prop 12 is a regulatory overreach that will have drastic consequences for California consumers.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West