U.S. Supreme Court Denies “Original Actions” on State Livestock Standard Laws

DTN Ag Policy Editor Chris Clayton reported yesterday that, “The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday denied attempts to make oral arguments before the court by 15 states in lawsuits against California and Massachusetts over claims of regulating agricultural production across state lines.

“Without commentary, the Supreme Court denied a pair of court cases, including Missouri and 12 other states versus California. The Supreme Court also denied a similar case led by Indiana and 12 other states against Massachusetts, though the court also noted that Justice Clarence Thomas would have granted the motion for a hearing.

The cases are similar, and most of the same states joined Missouri or Indiana in one or both cases. Missouri initiated a case against California’s law involving cage standards for egg-laying hens for those eggs to be sold in California. Massachusetts has a similar law blocking the sale of eggs, pork and veal in the state based on confinement standards, as well, prompting Indiana to lead a lawsuit.”

Mr. Clayton stated that, “Missouri and Indiana had each argued the cases should go directly to the Supreme Court as original jurisdiction. By letting the two laws stand, the high court essentially rejected the arguments by Missouri, Indiana and other states that the two related cases are ‘original actions’ that should first be heard by the Supreme Court rather than go through circuit and appeals decisions first.

“The Supreme Court had asked the Trump administration last summer to weigh in on whether the cases should be taken directly to the high court. In a brief filed in late November, the U.S. Solicitor General stated in separate briefs that the plaintiff states’ claims do not warrant the exercise of the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction authority. The Solicitor General also stated in the California case that issues around economic impact of such regulations would be better decided in a case brought by someone who is being directly regulated by the California laws.”

The DTN article added that, “The cases were championed by national livestock groups affected by the state laws as well as advocacy organizations such as Protect the Harvest.”

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