The United States Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments on Tuesday for the case – National Pork Producers Council v. Ross.
In 2018 California voters approved a ballot initiative (Proposition 12) that established confinement standards for animals sold as meat in the state. The law calls for sows to be housed in larger group pens as opposed to the almost across-the-board industry standard of individual gestation crates.
The law becomes further complicated because it applies to all livestock sold in the state for meat even if it was grown outside the state of California.
The pork producers argue that the case violates the dormant Commerce Clause which prohibits states from excessive burdens on interstate commerce.
U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) was asked Tuesday about the beginning of the oral arguments in the Supreme Court and where he thinks the case is headed.
California accounts for 15% of national pork consumption which means that the state does hold considerable weight in the marketplace.
However, more than 99% of the pork sold in California is produced outside of the state’s borders which means that producers outside the state would bear the largest share of costs in order to retrofit their operations to comply with Prop 12.