Supreme Court to hear case about California pork rule

Why would the Supreme Court of the United States possibly need to hear a case about pork?

It turns out, a California rule about how pigs must be treated has some rather serious implications for other states and might violate the Interstate Commerce clause of the Constitution.

The state of California said via ballot initiative in 2018 that pork produced by caging mama pigs in tiny spaces would be illegal to sell there. California being a huge state that as of a few years ago had all by itself the ninth-largest economy in the world, the rule meant that other states that wanted to sell pork to California had to follow even its most asinine rules.

The cages ignorant Californians banned are actually better for the pigs, keeping them in position to nurse their young without falling on and killing them, but since when does the average voter not see “keeping pigs in tiny cages” and think that’s inhumane?

Not constitutional

What will voters want to weigh in on next? There’s no way the average voter has the expertise to decide how hogs should be raised.

Even if all that weren’t true, though, there’s a clause in the Constitution that says when any law affects trade in other states, the federal government can regulate it to prevent one state from benefitting while the other is harmed.

It’s this clause that those who oppose the California law cite as the basis for their case against it. What the Supreme Court will do is unclear, however.

If they decide not to intervene, the price of pork may go up. It was one of the last relatively cheap meats, so it’s pretty popular right now.

Butt out

Since California barely produces any of the pork it eats, it is in effect forcing other states to change their pork-producing efforts to comply with a law that doesn’t even have anything to do with the state they are actually in.

“If you’re looking for an example of an unconstitutional law, this is it,” chief legal strategist for the pork producers Michael Formica said.

An appeals court upheld the law, so it now goes to the Supreme Court for review.

In this case, even the Biden administration agrees with the pork producers–they submitted a brief saying states can’t ban products because of philosophical reasons when there is no safety threat to humans.