A state judge has overturned New York City’s proposed ban all sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces, ruling the new regulations illegal.
New York City is “enjoined and permanently restrained from implementing or enforcing the new regulations,” New York Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling decided Monday, adding that Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s attempts at “portion control” were both “arbitrary” and “capricious.”
“The simple reading of the rule leads to the earlier acknowledged uneven enforcement even within a particular city block, much less the city as a whole … the loopholes in this rule effectively defeat the state purpose of the rule,” the decision reads.
Judge Tingling in his ruling explains that the Board of Health’s duty is to protect city residents by “providing regulations that prevent and protect against diseases,” as the Wall Street Journal notes.
It does not, he argues, have the authority to “limit or ban a legal item under the guise of ‘controlling chronic disease.’”
“The board may supervise and regulate the city’s food supply when it affects public health, but the City Charter clearly outlines when such steps may be taken,” the WSJ adds.
In order for city officials to impose something along the lines of Mayor Bloomberg’s sugary drinks ban, the city must face “imminent danger due to disease,” according to Tingling’s decision.
“That has not been demonstrated,” he notes.
The judge also said Mayor Bloomberg stepped outside the boundaries of his authority when he presented the Board of Health — “which is solely appointed by him” – with the ban.
The City Council, the decision explains, is the legislative body “and it alone has the authority to legislate as the board seeks to do here.”
Unsurprisingly, Mayor Bloomberg has vowed to fight Monday’s ruling:
We plan to appeal the sugary drinks decision as soon as possible, and we are confident the measure will ultimately be upheld.
— NYC Mayor’s Office (@NYCMayorsOffice) March 11, 2013
Here’s Judge Tingling’s decision:
Scheduled to take effect March 12, the new law would have affected theaters, cart vendors, coffee shops, restaurants, and sports venues, TheBlaze noted earlier today.
The regulations would not have affected grocery or convenience stores that don’t serve prepared food, CBS New York points out. The ban also wouldn’t have applied to non-sugary drinks, diet soda, “or anything that has at least 50 percent milk or milk substitute.”
UPDATE: Mayor Bloomberg called together an emergency presser to address Monday’s ruling. He said he is confident that they will be able to reverse the court’s decision and that he believes the judge got it “completely wrong.”
“We believe the judge is totally in error in how he interpreted the law, and we are confident we will win on appeal,” Bloomberg said. He added: “One of the cases we will make is that people are dying every day. This is not a joke. Five thousand people die of obesity every day in America.”
Meanwhile, here’s TheBlaze’s Doc Thompson celebrating Judge Tingling’s ruling:
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Featured image Getty Images. This post has been updated.