Court Delivers Likely Final Word on NYC Soda Ban

Justices say city health board didn't have authority to impose size limit
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 26, 2014 2:28 PM CDT
Court Delivers Likely Final Word on NYC Soda Ban
This 2012 file photo shows a display of various size cups and sugar cubes at a news conference at New York's City Hall.   (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Guzzlers prevailed today as New York's highest court refused to reinstate New York City's ban on the sale of big sodas, ruling that the city's health department overstepped its bounds when it approved the 16-ounce cap on sugary beverages. The court largely ignored the merits of the ban in the 20-page ruling, but determined the city's Board of Health engaged in policy-making, and not simply health regulations, when it imposed the restrictions on restaurants, delis, movie theaters, stadiums, and street cart vendors.

The case was decided 4-2. In the majority opinion, Judge Eugene Piggott Jr. wrote that city health regulators appeared to carefully weigh the economic, social, and health implications of the ban—a policy function that Piggott wrote was not the health board's to exercise. The two dissenting judges countered that the judiciary shouldn't "step into the middle of a debate over public health policy." The city hasn't said whether it plans to try to appeal to the US Supreme Court, but such an appeal would be unlikely to be accepted anyway, because the case centers on local issues rather than federal ones. (More soda ban stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.