NYC Soda Ban Back in Court

Published in CSP Daily News

Can Bloomberg prevail before he leaves office? Beverage group says no.

Michael Bloomberg

NEW YORK -- Three months after a state court judge barred New York City from limiting the sale of large sugary drinks, the administration of Mayor Michael Bloomberg was back in the courtroom on Tuesday, asking an appellate court to approve the rules, said The New York Times.

Bloomberg's final term ends in less than six months, said the report, and many of the politicians vying to succeed him are lukewarm about the soda plan, suggesting they might drop the case once Bloomberg is out of office.

The case pits the city, which argues that a prohibition on high-calorie beverages is an innovative way to fight obesity, against the soft drink industry, which says the restrictions are a bureaucratic overreach approved without legal authority.

The court issued no ruling on Tuesday, but there were some signs that the administration, which has seen several marquee initiatives struck down by the courts, could have a hard time trying to salvage this one, said the report.

The city's lawyer came under a barrage of skeptical questions from four justices of the First Department of the Appellate Division, a midlevel state appellate court, who appeared puzzled by the array of exemptions and caveats written into the rule.

The sugary drink limits, which prompted a debate about obesity, consumer freedom and public health, were struck down in March by Justice Milton A. Tingling of State Supreme Court in Manhattan, who deemed the regulations overly arbitrary and said the city Board of Health had exceeded its authority in enacting the plan.

Bloomberg has said he believes the city will prevail on the measure, the report said.

If the appellate court rejects the city's argument, the administration could request a review by the New York State Court of Appeals. But it is unclear whether that review could occur before Bloomberg leaves office, the newspaper said

The American Beverage Association, the industry group that led the successful lawsuit to halt the plan, said in a statement obtained by the Times that it expected the earlier decision to stand.

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