U.S. Supreme Court upholds California pig law

May 11, 2023


The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld California’s Proposition 12, a law that requires each pig to have 24 square feet of space, ruling that the measure does not violate the Interstate Commerce Clause of the Constitution. 

Prop. 12 also bans the sale of pork products from other states, where most pork consumed in California originates, if the rancher does not abide by the law’s space requirements. Ranchers, retailers and restaurant owners have voiced concerns that the currently paused law will double or triple the price of pork.

The National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation petitioned the Supreme Court to consider the constitutionality of one state imposing excessively burdensome regulations on other states. They argued the law violates the Interstate Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

California consumes 13% of U.S. pork, but produces only 0.1% of what it consumes, meaning Prop. 12’s sow-housing requirements fall almost exclusively on farmers outside of the state, the National Pork Producers Council stated in their petition. 

The state of California has claimed Prop. 12 is similar to existing requirements that out-of-state producers use particular labels or meet quality or safety standards. Prop. 12 does not prevent out-of-state pork producers from making products that do not conform to the law, so long as they sell the pork outside of California, state officials argued.

In a 5-4 ruling, in which conservative and liberal justices fell on both sides of the decision, the Supreme Court found that Prop. 12 regulates a consumer good within California without discriminating against out-of-state interests.

“Companies that choose to sell products in various states must normally comply with the laws of those various states,” Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in the majority opinion. “Assuredly, under this court’s dormant Commerce Clause decisions, no state may use its laws to discriminate purposefully against out-of-state economic interests.

“But the pork producers do not suggest that California’s law offends this principle. Instead, they invite us to fashion two new and more aggressive constitutional restrictions on the ability of states to regulate goods sold within their borders. We decline that invitation. While the Constitution addresses many weighty issues, the type of pork chops California merchants may sell is not on that list.”

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The term “pig out” or “pork barrel” could become obsolete? We may have to revert back to the real word, gluttonous.

Unless it is for medical reasons, eating animal flesh and guts is stupid as well as cruel and gross. And absolutely unnecessary.

You have a right to that opinion. Just because others have a different take and opinion doesn’t make them stupid, cruel or gross.

There’s nothing wrong with debate or discussion of issues. Not having those things are showing intolerance, shallow thinking, not to mention limiting ones freedom of speech and opinions.

Who here wants to bet, that when Newsom recently visited Florida (you know, one of those states that California tax dollars won’t be used to visit?), he never asked how his breakfast was raised?

This is actually a really interesting case constitutionally. This podcast has a great debate on the matter before the court, both sides have fine points.


Excellent news! I am glad that I live in a state where an animal who is forced to breed and give its life for the pleasure of humans is at least treated with that level of respect. The animals bred and raised for human consumption are most often subjected to a life that more resembles constant torture than any life at all. A person can maintain excellent health without ever consuming the flesh of another creature, so that suffering is for human pleasure more than need. Anything that minimizes their discomfort is more than justified by the need to retain at least a minimal modicum of humanity whilst satisfying tastes.

Wow. I see those who prefer a serving of sadism with their meals are weighing in heavily on this one.

My seven sibling and I were raised on a working milk dairy here locally. Not only did we have fresh milk every day, but we also had a large vegetable garden with everything imaginable. We all had daily chores caring for our livestock. We raised our own hogs, beef, chickens, eggs and rabbits to help make ends meet for us and others, especially at the table. There’s nothing wrong with raising and providing food for others. It was done with respect to the land AND ANIMALS.

Nearby farm families also shared in their bounties with other neighbors. Life was good. This life taught us all a great work ethic, respect for our land, family and others. The vegetables and animals blessed many in our local area. There is nothing better than home grown provisions across the board. Maybe this insane decision will prompt people to get back to that way of life.

If it wasn’t for this hard-working way of life many would not be here today, which may include you and your extended family. Not everything is self-serving desires and narratives.

There is nothing respectful about slaughtering the life of an animal.

We may differ on what constitutes “respect”. However, I fail to see why you would consider a decision by the Court to uphold the California law that shows better respect for the animals as being “insane”, if, indeed, you are in favor of respecting animals.

Perhaps you are familiar with a “gestation crate” and somehow equate that with “respect”. If so, would you choose to spend your life in one? That is the kind of thing that out of state factory farm pig exploiters are trying to force us to accept. If you don’t consider that torture, I wonder just how high the bar is for you.

As for working the land and sharing with neighbors, I would imagine there is no finer way of life. Nothing would please me more than if a significant portion of our population took a step back into that way of life. But that life is in no way related to the abomination that is today’s greed driven factory farming horror show.

Commonsenseguy – While disagreeing with Francesca’s view on eating meat you do seem to be agreeing with this law that you’re calling insane. Farming can be done with respect for land, family, AND animals. I bet on your family farm you kept pigs in at least 4×6 pens, no? This law doesn’t target family farming, it targets factory farming. Better meat comes from better practices.

I don’t recall the pen size but there were many per stall. You were constantly caring them and the rest the livestock. All the while knowing they were going to be in someones freezer eventually.

Unfortunately, family farms will be next. Their desire to increase the insanity of power and control is never satisfied.

I like my chops breaded and fried. Yum

I mostly agree with you. Animals raised for food should have a good life ended suddenly and painlessly by one bad day. A society that is not humane to animals is on shaky ground.

Why is this disliked? Do people think animals should die painfully and that it’s actually good for society if we are inhumane? Wack.

Why not? Freedom of opinion and choice. Is that now not allowed?