This morning, the United States Supreme Court affirmed a decision of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld California’s 2018 voter initiative that imposed minimum space requirements for the confinement of breeding pigs that produce uncooked products to sell in the state.
In the underlying case, National Pork Producers Council v. Ross, the petitioners, the National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau, argued that the California law violates the doctrine of the dormant commerce clause, which generally prohibits state legislation that unduly burdens interstate or international commerce. The Biden Administration also opposed the California law. The State of California and the Humane Society of the United States defended the law in oral arguments last October.
The opinion may be viewed at https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/22pdf/21-468_5if6.pdf.
The opinion was not along party lines; and with seven concurrences and dissents, was far from unanimous. Justice Gorsuch announced the judgment of the Court, and was joined by Justices Thomas, Sotomayor, Kagan, and Barrett for the majority. Justice Gorsuch was also joined by Justices Thomas and Barret with respect to Parts IV-B and IV-D of the opinion, and joined by Justices Thomas, Sotomayor, and Kagan with respect of Part IV-C of the opinion. Justices Sotomayor and Kagan concurred in part. Justice Barrett concurred separately in part. Chief Justice Roberts was joined by Justices Alito, Kavanaugh, and Jackson in concurring in part, and dissenting in part. Justice Kavanaugh separately concurred in part and dissented in part.
The American Kennel Club Government Relations Department (AKC GR) will analyze the holding of the case and provide a plain-language summary of the opinion. Today’s ruling raises concerns that states may now be permitted to impose their restrictive views on dog breeding, care, and ownership on residents in other states.
AKC will continue to defend the rights of dog breeders and owners from onerous and overreaching regulation of their activities. For more information, contact AKC GR at email@example.com.
Click here to read AKC GR’s October 2022 commentary on National Pork Producers v. Ross.