Actions aimed at protecting Indiana farmers from aggressive over-regulation
Attorney General Curtis Hill announced today his office has joined a 12-state effort to challenge in the U.S. Supreme Court attempts by California to impose agricultural regulations on Indiana and other states.
The lawsuit opposes a California law requiring egg producers in all other states to comply with California’s farming regulations regarding housing of poultry in order to sell eggs in that state. The suit claims that California’s regulations violate both a federal law prohibiting states from imposing their own standards on eggs produced in other states and the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which gives Congress exclusive authority to regulate commerce among and between states.
In 2016, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an earlier group of plaintiff states lacked standing to pursue their claims in this regard. Today’s filing in the U.S. Supreme Court, however, answers this assertion by providing a careful economic analysis that establishes the impact of these burdensome regulations.
“This case involves a concept known as horizontal federalism,” Attorney General Hill said. “Under the Constitution, states must respect one another’s sovereign prerogatives.”
Especially worth noting, he added, is that the California law has nothing to do with the quality of the products sold to consumers.
“Obviously, every state has the right to regulate products based on such factors as consumer health and safety,” Attorney General Hill said. “It’s another thing altogether for one state to sit in judgment of other states’ manufacturing and production processes – and to erect barriers to products from other states based upon that judgment.”
In the case against California, Indiana joins lead plaintiff Missouri along with Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah and Wisconsin.
States’ legal complaints against other states must be filed directly in the U.S. Supreme Court, as Congress has provided that “[t]he Supreme Court shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction of all controversies between two or more States.” 28 U.S.C. § 1251(a).