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Other Rights About to Go

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Since the Opus Dei Court is going all-in for destroying any democratic accountability and implementing their vision of how great things were in 1950 despite no knowledge about actual life in 1950, we can expect all sorts of fun coming up. For example, next year it is almost certainly going to overturn a California law that banned the worst kind of animal-raising practices. Whatever you think about the animal rights movement, the upside of this is stop states like California from engaging in any industrial regulation that goes beyond what Congress does. So think of car emissions, for example.

But now the highest court has agreed to hear the case, and a who’s who of American business has lined up behind the pig industry. Amicus briefs for the case have been filed by U.S. and Canadian meat industry groups, manufacturing and pharmaceutical associations, and free market evangelists like the Cato Institute and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The crux of all these groups’ arguments is that Proposition 12’s animal welfare standards will impose an unfair economic burden on pig producers in other states that sell to California. Unexpectedly, the latest group to throw its weight behind the hog barons is the Biden administration’s Department of Justice. But while this case, National Pork Producers Council & American Farm Bureau Federation v. Ross, is ostensibly about interstate commerce, it also raises a deeper question: whether values democratically expressed by a state’s voters can serve as legal basis for regulating harmful industries’ effects within that state.

The NPCC and its supporters aren’t just hoping that the Supreme Court reverses this decision. They are making a more pernicious claim, as well: that democratically expressed values are not a viable basis for regulating production practices in other states. NPPC argues that, aside from claims about human health, Proposition 12 rests “only on philosophical preferences” that should not outweigh the costs borne by producers. Likewise, the DOJ amicus brief questions the legitimacy of “enforcing Californians’ judgments about appropriate animal husbandry throughout the Nation.”

Both of these entities are suggesting that ethical judgments, even when expressed democratically at the ballot box, are an insufficient basis for regulation. It means that states lack the right to refuse to be complicit in practices that their voters take to be massively and unnecessarily harmful or unjust if a judgment comes down to ethics or philosophical preferences about justice.

Of course, if Texas wants to go farther than Congress on issues Republicans agree with, then that’s a totally different story, based on the solid legal doctrine of Fuck Democrats.

I ask you again, you aren’t going to vote these people out. They are already fixing that game with the North Carolina elections case. So what are you going to do about it when voting is never enough. What are the other steps to take?

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