Agriculture groups argued against California's Proposition 12 to the Supreme Court Tuesday.  The American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Pork Producers Council asked the high court to overturn a lower court ruling that threw out their lawsuit against the 2018 California ballot initiative banning pork, veal and eggs from animals not raised by California’s minimum space standards.


“Proposition 12 violates the Commerce clause, almost per se, because it’s an extraterritorial regulation that conditions pork sales on out-of-state farmers adopting California’s preferred farming methods, no other state makes farmers house pigs the way California does,” noted Attorney Timothy Bishop, arguing for the farm groups.


“California voters chose to pay higher prices to serve their local interest, in refusing to provide a market for products they viewed as morally objectionable and potentially unsafe," said California Solicitor General Michael Mongen.  "The Commerce Clause does not prohibit that choice.”


A question the Justices probed for two-hours, exploring ways California could escape or not, the Commerce Clause that gives Congress sole authority to regulate interstate commerce.


Led by Illinois, 14 mainly Democratic-led States plus DC argued in briefs, overturning California’s law would undermine state legislative authority.  Twenty GOP-led states argued upholding Prop 12 would undermine state sovereignty.  The Humane Society, a party in the case and leader of Prop 12, argued there's a long history of state laws to protect public health and animal welfare.


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