US Supreme Court upholds California's Proposition 12

National Pork Producers Council had challenged the constitutionality of the law, which could have a broad effect on pork producers across the U.S.

JuliaS |

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to uphold California's Proposition 12, which bans the sale of pork from hogs that don’t meet certain production standards, in an opinion issued May 11.

The ruling is a significant blow to the pork industry, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) has warned.

“We are very disappointed with the Supreme Court’s opinion. Allowing state overreach will increase prices for consumers and drive small farms out of business, leading to more consolidation. We are still evaluating the Court’s full opinion to understand all the implications. NPPC will continue to fight for our nation’s pork farmers and American families against misguided regulations," said Scott Hays, NPPC president and Missouri pork producer, in a statement.

In National Pork Producers Council v. Ross, the NPPC had challenged the constitutionality of the law, saying it violates the Commerce Clause and fails the Pike balancing test.

The Commerce Clause grants Congress the power to regulate trade among the states and restricts states from regulating commerce outside their borders, except for matters related to public health and safety. The Pike balancing test refers to Pike v. Bruce Church, a case from 1970 in which the Supreme Court found that, to be constitutional, the burdens a state or local law imposes on out-of-state commerce must not be clearly excessive in comparison to the local benefits.

Proposition 12, which was approved by voters in 2018, establishes minimum space requirements based on square feet for breeding pigs, veal calves and egg-laying hens and, beginning January 1, 2022, would ban the sale of meat and eggs from those animals when they are raised in a way that does not comply with the minimum requirements. According to NPPC, Prop 12 prohibits the sale of pork from hogs whose sows were raised anywhere in the world in pens that do not comply with the state’s standards.

The appeal to the Supreme Court came after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in July 2021 upheld a lower court ruling against the NPPC case. The Supreme Court's opinion affirms that ruling.


Page 1 of 5
Next Page