Rule of Law

RELEASE: Supreme Court Decision in Animal Welfare Case Is Important Victory for Democracy

WASHINGTON, DC – Following the Supreme Court’s announcement of its decision in National Pork Producers Council v. Ross, in which the Supreme Court upheld the legality of California’s animal welfare law, Proposition 12, Constitutional Accountability Center (CAC) Senior Appellate Counsel Brian Frazelle had this reaction:

Today’s decision is not just a victory for the animals that many pork companies confine in tiny cages, it is a victory for democracy itself, rejecting an aggressive corporate effort to conscript the courts in overruling the will of the voters.

While states may not pass laws that discriminate against products from other states, the Court made clear that a state’s health and safety regulations do not become unconstitutional simply because out-of-state companies may have to spend money obeying those laws in order to sell products within the state. Justice Gorsuch’s opinion also firmly rejected the idea that judges may strike down a state’s consumer protection laws “based on nothing more than their own assessment of the relevant law’s costs and benefits.”

Embracing the arguments presented in our amicus brief for law professors Barry Friedman and Daniel Deacon, the opinion stresses that the so-called “dormant Commerce Clause,” on which the pork producers based their lawsuit, is fundamentally about preventing state economic protectionism. It does not give judges a license “to reassess the wisdom of state legislation.” Policy choices like these instead “belong to the people and their elected representatives.”



Amici curiae brief in Ross v. National Pork Producers Council:

Brian R. Frazelle, The Supreme Court’s Ruling on California’s Pig Crate Law Could Be a Gift to Corporate America, The New Republic,


Constitutional Accountability Center is a nonpartisan think tank and public interest law firm dedicated to fulfilling the progressive promise of the Constitution’s text, history, and values. Visit CAC’s website at