Proposition 12 Challenge Receives Support from Biden Administration

Brian GermanHogs & Pork, Regulation

Last week the agriculture industry’s challenge to California’s Proposition 12 received support from the Biden administration. U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar filed an amicus brief supporting the Supreme Court challenge brought by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF). Referencing a previous Supreme Court decision in her brief, Prelogar pointed out that California “’has no legitimate interest in protecting’ the welfare of animals located outside the state.” Prelogar ultimately concludes that the ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissing the challenge to Prop 12 should be reversed.  

Proposition 12

“We commend the Biden administration for taking action to stop ill-considered ballot initiatives like California’s Proposition 12 that undermine vital supply chains, national markets and consumer choice and further inflate food prices,” NPPC Assistant Vice President and General Counsel Michael Formica said in a press release. “Additional supporters filed briefs opposing Proposition 12 and stood up to preserve the free flow of commerce among states to ensure consumers all over the nation have access to affordable, safe and wholesome food.”

Several agricultural organizations, business groups, and more than two-dozen states have all filed briefs in support of the Proposition 12 challenge. NPPC and AFBF also filed a joint brief to the Supreme Court recently. In it, the groups point out that more than 99 percent of pork consumed in California comes from outside the state.  At the same time, California accounts for 13 percent of U.S. pork demand. AFBF and NPPC argue that California’s Proposition 12 should be considered constitutionally invalid for effectively regulating commerce outside of the state.

“California is attempting to set the rules for the entire country,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall.  “This law has the potential to devastate small family farms across the nation through unnecessary and expensive renovations, and every family will ultimately pay for the law through higher food prices.”

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West