Illinois joins brief in Supreme Court pork case – Crain’s Chicago Business

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The law would apply to any pork from in-state and out-of-state producers who fail to provide such pigs with at least 24 square feet of floor space each. It also imposes paperwork requirements and other responsibilities on the producer. Because 98% of the pork sold within California comes from out of state, the farmers and pork producers say the law places harsh—and unconstitutional—burdens on them.

Timothy S. Bishop, an appellate attorney and partner at Mayer Brown’s Chicago office, will be arguing the case on behalf of the National Pork Producers Council, which is based in Iowa.

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, in a friend-of-the-court brief for Illinois and 13 other states and the District of Columbia, acknowledges that Illinois “produces pork for sale throughout the United States,” but that the “broader implications of the case” prompt the state to oppose the broad view of the commerce clause taken by the challengers.

The challengers’ arguments threaten the authority of states “to enact laws protecting the welfare of their residents, including setting consumer product safety standards, price-gouging prohibitions, energy programs, and restrictions on predatory lending and other financial regulations, to name a few,” Raoul, a Democrat, says in the brief. He cites a 2007 investigation by his predecessor Lisa Madigan into toy medical kits with high lead content.

Not everyone in Illinois is on the same page, however. The Illinois Pork Producers Association, representing 1,600 member entities, joined a brief against the California law because it would “impose vast burdens throughout the North American supply chain.”

Sandburg’s poem “Chicago,” which includes references to “Hog Butcher” and “City of the Big Shoulders,” was first published in 1914, when the Union Stockyards district made Chicago the nation’s meatpacking center. Meatpackers began closing their facilities there in the 1950s.

But Illinois remains a major player in pig farming. It is the fourth largest among states by inventory of hogs and pigs, behind Iowa, Minnesota and North Carolina, according to the most recent editions of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “Quarterly Hogs and Pigs” newsletter.

A decision in the case is expected by next June.

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October 11, 2022 at 11:57AM

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