Beginning next October, the Supreme Court session will have a food and agriculture theme going for it. The high court has already agreed to hear two blockbuster cases involving the Clean Water Act and California’s Proposition 12.
And while the National Corn Growers Association failed to get the court to review year-round E15 gasoline, Bayer AG’s request to reconsider its glyphosate (Roundup) product remains alive.
Beginning Jan.1 in California, Prop 12 has banned the sale of pork products from hogs not housed under the state’s standards – even from hogs beyond California’s borders.
The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) requested the Supreme Court review of Prop 12. The Commerce Clause of the US Constitution grants only Congress the power to regulate trade among the states.
States have the power to regulate their trade as it involves public health and safety. Whether California’s extension of its jurisdiction is consistent with the Commerce Clause is one of the critical issues for the high court to decide.
Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall said Prop 12 does not improve either animal welfare or food safety as was claimed when it was on the ballot in California.
“Farmers know the best way to care for their animals,” he said. “The law takes away the flexibility to ensure hogs are raised in a safe environment while driving up the cost of providing food for America’s families. Small family farms beyond California’s borders will be the hardest hit as they are forced to make expensive and unnecessary changes to their operations. This will lead to more consolidation in the pork industry and higher prices in the grocery store, meaning every family in Ameican will ultimately pay the price for Prop 12. “
The Clean Water Act case will require the justices to get into the weeds to settle some basic definitions that have gone unsettled since the Nixon Administration law was passed.
The issues are being heard through the case of Chantell and Mike Sackett of Priest Lake, ID. Their 46-page Writ of Certiorari puts water issues surrounding their property before the high court for a second time.
Their petition, written by the Pacific Legal Foundation, frames the issue currently facing the Idaho couple as they continue in a now 15-year pursuit to build a single-family house. It says:
“Petitioners Michael and Chantell Sackett own a vacant lot in a mostly built-out residential subdivision near Priest Lake, Idaho. The lot has no surface water connection to any body of water. In April 2007, with local permits in hand, the Sacketts began building a family home. But later that year, the respondent Environmental Protection Agency sent them an administrative compliance order determining that their home construction violated the Clean Water Act because their lot contains wetlands that qualify as regulated “navigable waters.”
The Supreme Court also has asked the Biden administration for its views on whether the justices should hear Bayer AG’s bid to dismiss claims by customers who contend its Roundup weedkiller causes cancer.
The company might avoid paying court judgments that could run into billions of dollars. Bayer filed a petition with the Supreme Court to reverse a lower court decision that upheld $ 25 million in damages awarded to California resident Edwin Hardeman.
He was a Roundup user who blamed his cancer on the German pharmaceutical and chemical giant’s glyphosate-based weedkillers.
(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here)