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AG Nessel Partners with Illinois to Lead Multistate Coalition in Support of States’ Rights

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel partnered with Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul to lead a multistate amicus brief urging the United States Supreme Court to protect the ability of states to regulate industries within their borders. A coalition of 15 attorneys general signed onto the amicus brief in support of the respondents in National Pork Producers Council et al. v. Karen Ross.

The National Pork Producers Council, with other industry organizations, filed suit against Karen Ross in her capacity as Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, arguing that California’s Proposition 12, a voter-approved law that regulates certain farm animal confinement, violates the dormant Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

“While the interests of one state may not align with another, the preservation of the ability of the state to effectively regulate and govern within its borders based on the unique needs of its population is paramount,” said Nessel.  “I am happy to partner with my colleagues in support of protecting laws passed by the voters.”

The brief filed by the coalition argues that “petitioners’ expansive view of the dormant Commerce Clause would distort the States’ traditional regulatory role and undermine their sovereign authority to regulate matters of importance within their borders. This Court should decline petitioners’ invitation to take such a drastic departure from its precedent, which rightly construes the dormant Commerce Clause to invalidate only those state laws that discriminate against or excessively burden interstate interests.”

Furthermore, the brief states that the proposed rule, “...could call into question the States’ sovereign authority 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. Constraining the States’ traditional regulatory role in this manner would also harm the States’ residents, who have come to rely on these important protections when they purchase goods, procure professional services, and engage in financial transactions.”

Joining AG Nessel and AG Raoul on the brief are attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington.

A copy of the amicus brief is available here.