Agriculture loses in U.S. Supreme Court

A law out of California will force hog and veal producers to restructure their facilities to meet confinement standards.


Gary Baise, Opinion, Farm Futures

Jul 15, 2021


The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress.


In a 41-page publication, the United States Supreme Court in case 20-1215 North American Meat Institute (NAMI) v Bonta, Attorney General of California denied certiorari to review California’s Proposition 12. This also would have impacted Proposition 2 in California and Question 3 from Massachusetts.


Agriculture producers did not believe one state could control farming practices across the nation. Boy, were we wrong!!


On March 30, 2021, I said “If the law is not overturned, one state will control farming practices across the nation.”


NAMI of course was disappointed that its Cert Petition was denied. This is another example of having virtually all Harvard/Yale appointees on the Supreme Court. 


Two sides


There are a couple of exceptions with Justice Barrett and Justice Thomas. A number of us had hope that Justice Barrett coming from Indiana and Notre Dame might exhibit some common-sense regarding animal agriculture. Protect the Harvest and Forrest Lucas have been engaged in this battle since 2008.


On the opposite side is the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS), the Consumer Federation of America, and the Center for Food and Water Watch. NAMI claimed the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision conflicted with decisions of other Circuits and claimed California could not adopt trade barriers which were designed to control production in other states and countries.


Discrimination? ...


Control beyond borders? ...


Invest or go out of business ...