As we blogged earlier today, a new beverage law for New York City was scheduled to go into effect tomorrow. But, at the last minute, a NY State Supreme Court Judge put a hold on the law.
According to Michael M. Grynbaum, writing for the New York Times: “A judge invalidated New York City’s limits on large sugary drinks on Monday, one day before they were to go into effect, dealing a significant blow to one of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s signature public-health initiatives and a marquee project of his third term. The decision by Justice Milton A. Tingling Jr. of State Supreme Court in Manhattan blocks the city from putting the rules into effect or enforcing them. Justice Tingling said the rule banning the drinks was ‘arbitrary and capricious.’ In his opinion, Justice Tingling specifically cited a perceived inequity in the soda rules, which applies to only certain sugared drinks — beverages with a high milk content, for instance, would be exempt — and would apply only to some food establishments, like restaurants, but not others, like convenience stores. ‘It applies to some but not all food establishments in the city,’ Justice Tingling wrote. ‘It excludes other beverages that have significantly higher concentrations of sugar sweeteners and/or calories.’ The judge also wrote that the fact that consumers can receive refills of sodas, as long as the cup size is not larger than 16 ounces, would ‘defeat and/or serve to gut the purpose the rule.’ The judge also appeared to be skeptical of the purview of the city’s Board of Health, which the Bloomberg administration had maintained has broad powers to seek to better the public’s health. That interpretation, the judge wrote, ‘would leave its authority to define, create, mandate and enforce limited only by its own imagination,’ and ‘create an administrative Leviathan.’”