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The Supreme Court's Decision To Duck a Foie Gras Case Is Bad News for Food Freedom

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12.01.2019

The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday it would not (yet) hear an appeal in a case challenging California's unconstitutional and much-reviled foie gras ban. The case will now head back to U.S. District Court.

The Supreme Court's decision is a temporary setback for foie gras producers, chefs, and others fighting the law. They've vowed to continue their efforts. Michael Tenenbaum, who represents the plaintiffs in the case, told me this week that he and his clients look forward to proceeding with the case and that they're confident they will prevail. I am, too.

Meanwhile, though, restaurants and others in California that serve foie gras could face fines of $1,000 for any violation of the law.

Animal rights groups applauded this week's Supreme Court decision. PETA called the denial of cert. a "victory for animals [that] follows tireless efforts from animal rights activists to oppose the archaic foie gras industry."

The Animal Legal Defense Fund hailed the decision as "a landmark moment for ducks," incorrectly labeling the Supreme Court's actions a "death knell" and "the foie gras industry's last appeal."

But supporters of foie gras, the Constitution, and food freedom were disheartened by the Court's action.

Culinary leaders—from California chefs to French foie gras producers—are aghast. I am, too. Earlier this year, I wrote and submitted an amicus brief in support of the petitioners in this case—foie gras producers and sellers—on behalf of both the Reason Foundation (the nonprofit that publishes Reason) and the Cato Institute, in which I urged the Supreme Court to take up the foie gras case.

(I won't rehash the legal arguments here. Those interested in learning more may do so by reading my April........

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