The great state of California in its infinite wisdom passed a law that no pork could be sold in California unless the pigs were treated humanely and housed in cages that allowed them to turn around and have a little room to do pig things. California consumes 13% of the nation’s pork but produces nearly none of it. So, California was essentially concocting a requirement that only affected out of state pork producers. The unhappy pig overlords did not want to spend their pig profits to give pigs more space. This case then ended up in the US Supreme Court where it led to a fractured verdict.
The issue here for the non-regular Supreme Court practitioner is whether one state can determine how residents of another state act if the foreign state’s actions affect the legislating state. The Court ruled that California absolutely has every right to legislate what sort of pork is sold in its state. Now, it seems like pigs will be much happier in Iowa, until they are slaughtered….
The interesting question here is if a state can control out of state behavior, then what will the Texas or Missouri legislatures do with people moving into their state from outside states. I could imaging a number of scenarios where a lot of efforts are made by Texas or Iowa pig farmers etc. to retaliate in a roundabout way against California or use the new Happy Pig Ruling to fight its perceived culture wars. By all accounts the Iowa pig producers are hopping mad and ready to wage war. But, as we all know, don’t fight with a pig, you both get covered in poop and the pig loves it.