A stunning blow to the states that filed the lawsuit
A few weeks ago, a federal judge rejected a lawsuit that was previously filed by six states against the state of California. This defeat was handed down in a stunning blow to the states that filed the lawsuit, who claimed Prop 2 is unconstitutional. Not only did the judge rule in favor of the mandates put forth by Proposition 2, she also ruled that those states could never file that type of lawsuit or anything like it again. The judge in question was U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller for the Eastern District of California. In her statement dismissing the lawsuit, she did not agree that the Prop 2 ruling enacted tougher standards on farmers throughout America, and certainly that it didn’t harm citizens in those states in any way. Only the citizens in those six states who have to pay millions of dollars to comply with the dubbed “Egg Law” would be the ones to suffer, she says, even though they were planning to participate in one of the country’s largest egg markets, reported the Wall Street Journal.
Against the commerce clause of the Constitution
The lawsuit, filed several months ago by Missouri first, also involved the states of Nebraska, Oklahoma, Alabama, Kentucky and Iowa later. The attorneys general in those states claimed that Proposition 2 – passed in 2008 by California voters – went against the commerce clause of the Constitution. They argued that they had two non-favorable options available to them: they had to either change their cage sizes for egg-laying hens to comply with the new mandate or stop selling eggs in California – both implying huge financial disadvantages. Prop 2 has since gotten a lot of attention, from both sides. On one side you have the Humane Society of the United States and on the other side you have the Association of California Egg Farmers. This has turned into a national debate of epic proportions.
Prop 2 supporters claim egg laying hens should be afforded more space to lay down, turn around and spread their wings. Detractors of Prop 2 – while not necessarily against the humane treatment of chickens – argue this debate goes much deeper than that. They say that the financial commitment egg farmers are being asked to incur could make them close up shop. Another reason they aren’t happy? They point to the commerce clause in the Constitution that says one state can’t impose its own laws on another state.
Can never file a lawsuit similar to that one again
This was all to no avail, though, when the federal judge tossed out the six-state lawsuit, unequivocally rejecting it. The judge didn’t think Prop 2 represents a harm to residents and she certainly didn’t think it was against the Constitution. One last parting shot was when the judge told those states they could never file a lawsuit similar to that one again. However, many still wonder: is that all she wrote?
Nonetheless, the January 1, 2015 deadline for compliance is coming up – just over two months away. Until then, the reality of Prop 2 won’t be clear.