New York City Back In Court Trying To Reinstate Ban On Big Sodas

It seems like only yesterday that New Yorkers were living under the unsweetened thumb of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, because although there’s a new mayor in town, the old fight over restricting the sizes of soda and other sugary drinks continues onward.

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration has taken up the Bloomie torch and yesterday urged New York’s highest court in Albany to reinstate the proposed ban on large sugary drinks (in servings over 16 ounces) served in restaurants and other public venues.

Bloomberg and gang pledged to continue the fight last October and yesterday de Blasio renewed that fight, saying he hopes the court will respect the city’s authority and expertise when it comes to fighting obesity, reports the Wall Street Journal.

“The city’s proposal to cap the size of sugary drinks responds to the alarming obesity and diabetes crisis” affecting the city’s minority groups, he said.

It sounds like it’s still anybody’s fight, with six of the seven judges asking both sides plenty of questions over 40 minutes, while one judge recused herself.

“Couldn’t you ban hamburgers altogether from New York City?” Jonthan Lippman, the court’s chief judge, asked.

The chief of the appeals division for the city said that slippery slope situation is hypothetical, but finally replied that the city would “take an appropriate step” if there was scientific evidence to back such a thing.

“Where do you draw the line?” Judge Lippman asked.

He replied that the proposed ban doesn’t outright do away with sugary drinks but instead is just about portion control. The smaller size is like “a warning label,” he said. “It’s designed to prompt a conscious choice by the consumer.”

The chief judge then took to questioning the opponents’ legal counsel, asking: “Why isn’t this within the scope of their power and why isn’t it reasonable?”

That attorney said laws like this should come from elected officials and not an appointed panel like the NYC Board of Health.

“What we didn’t have was the will of the people,” he said. “They can’t tell us how many cheeseburgers or French fries we can have,” he said.

It should take about four to six weeks for a decision to come down, but that timetable is just what typically happens. We could still be hearing about this ban for a good chunk of time… again.

New York City Soda-Ban Fate Weighed [Wall Street Journal]

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