- By Norman Fine
Animal rights activists sponsored a ballot initiative in Massachusetts requiring farm animals to have space to lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs, and turn around freely. Activists call “extreme confinement” and “lifelong immobilization” torture. Referred to as the “egg law,” the 2016 Massachusetts referendum won in a four-to-one landslide.
Thirteen states have sued Massachusetts, however, claiming the referendum is unconstitutional on grounds that it unlawfully “dictate[s] how other states choose to regulate business operations and manufacturing processes within their own borders," according to Attorney General Curtis Hill, of Indiana, one of the thirteen states.
At issue is a charge by the plaintiffs of "economic protectionism and extraterritorial regulation that violates the Commerce Clause" of the U.S. Constitution. The suit says residents of different states will be made to "submit to Massachusetts' laws" and forced to follow edicts not approved in those states.
According to the Constitution, only the federal government may regulate interstate commerce. The purpose of the Commerce Clause was to prevent states from engaging in economic wars against each other while the federal government remains helpless to intervene.
A challenge against a similar law in California has so far failed. This is a case worth watching says MassLive.com "for reasons of business practice, humane treatment of animals, and the interpretation of interstate commerce in a democratic republic.”
Posted December 15, 2017