SCOTUS Agrees to Hear Proposition 12 Challenge

Brian GermanHogs & Pork, Regulation

After months of waiting, the Supreme Court of the U.S. (SCOTUS) announced they will hear the case challenging California’s Proposition 12. The petition was brought by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF). Prop 12 imposes animal confinement requirements for all pork products that are sold in California. The groups assert that the rules unfairly impact production outside of California. Certiorari was granted on March 28 after being relisted several times from the SCOTUS conference, with both AFBF and NPPC expressing appreciation for the latest development.

Proposition 12

“AFBF is pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision to consider the constitutionality of California’s law imposing arbitrary requirements on farmers well outside its borders,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “We share California’s goal of ensuring animals are well cared for, but Prop 12 fails to advance that goal. We look forward to presenting the facts to the Court, including how Prop 12 hamstrings farmers’ efforts to provide a safe environment for their animals, while harming small family farms and raising pork prices across the country. One state’s misguided law should not dictate farming practices for an entire nation.”

Another petition filed by the North American Meat Institute arguing against Proposition 12 had previously been denied by SCOTUS back in June. Back in July the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit upheld a lower court ruling against the NPPC-AFBF lawsuit. AFBF and NPPC will be filing an initial SCOTUS brief in the coming weeks, with oral arguments expected sometime in the Fall.

“We are extremely pleased that the Supreme Court will consider the constitutionality of Proposition 12, in which California seeks to impose regulations targeting farming practices outside its borders that would stifle interstate and international commerce,” NPPC President Terry Wolters said in a press release. “NPPC has poured a lot of blood, sweat and tears into preserving the rights of America’s pork producers to raise hogs in a way that’s best for their animals’ well-being and that allows them to continue selling pork to all consumers, both here and internationally.”

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West