Attorney General Ken Paxton has joined an Indiana-led multistate amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court, opposing a California law that regulates the sale of out-of-state pork, veal, and eggs.
The law at issue is Proposition 12, a 2018 ballot initiative in California that bans in-state businesses from selling pork, veal, and egg products that don’t meet certain environmental, humanitarian, breeding, and other agricultural-related standards, even if those products come from outside California. While California is arguably free to manage these issues within its own borders, Prop 12 reaches nationwide, effectively imposing California’s standards on the entire nation’s pork, veal, and egg industry. This violates a constitutional doctrine known as the “Dormant Commerce Clause,” which prohibits state protectionism or a state’s burdening of interstate commerce. Prop 12 has shuttered many businesses in California and raised the cost of producing these products across the nation, exacerbating an already troubling economic downturn that has been characterized by a sharp increase in food prices.
“Amici States file this brief to explain that the Commerce Clause prohibits California’s attempt to usurp other States’ authority to set their own animal husbandry policies,” the brief reads. “Proposition 12 does not protect the health and safety of California consumers, and its overall benefits for animal welfare are debatable at best yet threaten to segment interstate markets . . . and create interstate conflict.”
The underlying case before the U.S. Supreme Court is National Pork Producers Council, et al. v. Ross, et al., No. 21-468.
Read the amicus brief here.