It's been two years since California banned the sale and production of foie gras, and it seemed to be a done deal. But a group of attorneys, as well as 13 states outside of California, are hoping to raise the issue again. In fact, they're hoping to take it all the way to the Supreme Court.
The issue at stake is how the ban impacts interstate commerce. The 13 states (including South Carolina, Missouri, Kansas and Georgia) argue that the ban unconstitutionally interferes with interstate commerce by dictating the farming practices of producers outside the state.
By banning a certain product in California, the attorneys argue, the legislature here is actually restricting production in other states, ones that never agreed to such a ban. California may have the right to bar farmers here from techniques that produce foie gras, the argument goes. But by barring foie gras produced legally in other states, it's also hurting out-of-state farmers.
Arguing for the case to be heard in his brief to the court, Santa Monica lawyer Michael Tenenbaum argues: “California may forbid its own farmers from using an established feeding technique, but California cannot then seek to ‘level the playing ?eld’ by depriving out-of-state farmers of the competitive advantage they retain.”
So will our state's meaty troubles end up being tussled over in the highest court in the land? It could happen, but it's a long shot. The court chooses around 75 cases to hear per session out of thousands of petitions. But attorneys petitioning to be heard argue that the case “is of exceptional importance to the preservation of state sovereignty.”
We should know in the next few months whether the Supreme Court will hear the case or not.
Attorneys petitioning the court could not immediately be reached for comment.