Thursday was a happy day for opponents of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's attempt to regulate the size of many of the drinks they can buy. The New York State Court of Appeals, the state's highest court, ruled 4-2 against the city's desire to reinstate Bloomberg's initial regulation that later was delayed by a lower court.
Bloomberg and his nanny state minions sought to ban on the sale of sodas and sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces -- at selected vendors, mind you -- back in September 2012. It would have applied to the city's restaurants, delicatessens, movie theaters, stadiums and street carts, but not to bodegas, convenience stores and grocery stores.
Many like-minded politicians around the state had indicated they were keeping an eye on the judicial path of the proposed ban to see if it would be worthwhile for them to go through the potential expense and controversy of trying such a limitation in their own communities.
“By choosing among competing policy goals, without any legislative delegation or guidance, the board engaged in law-making and thus infringed upon the legislative jurisdiction of the City Council of New York,” wrote Judge Eugene F. Pigott in the majority opinion. Opponents of the ban may be happy about the ruling, but it still should be a bit scary for them that one-third of the state's highest judges still thought such a ban would have been OK.
Under the initiative, sugary drinks were defined as beverages “sweetened with sugar or another caloric sweetener that contain more than 25 calories per eight fluid ounces and contain less than 51% milk or milk substitute by volume as an ingredient,” which does not include diet drinks, calorie-free drinks and alcoholic beverages.
The National Restaurant Association had joined the American Beverage Association in challenging the ban in court, saying it was arbitrary and subjected restaurateurs to a standard that many of its competitors, including groceries and c-stores, didn’t have to meet.