California Pork Supreme Court Ruling is good for Small Farmers

California Pork

The Supreme Court recently ruled California pork rules for items sold within the state are constitutional. The ruling itself came from an unusual 5-4 split decision but that’s not really what I want to discuss today.

The ruling is roiling politicians from pork producing states like Iowa and the leaders of factory farm proponents. Scott Hays of the National Pork Producers Council and Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst of Iowa all lambaste the ruling as working against small farmers. They are lying. Those three and others like them are not the friend of small farmers. Let’s get into it.

The Rise of the CAFO

Small farmers are being decimated by Concentrated Animal Feed Organizations. I wrote about them recently in a ruling that went in their favor in Missouri. The rule upheld by the Supreme Court for California hurts not the small farmer but the CAFOs.

Small farmers are under tremendous pressure from CAFOs. We’re losing small farmers at a tremendous rate to these enormous operations. Bankruptcy, suicide, and the selling of the family farm to bankers. That’s the reality of being a small farmer today.

Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst aren’t on your Side

Small farmers are largely not affected by the California rule or, at the worst, can fairly easily comply. That’s why a number of organizations that support small farmers filed briefs in favor of the California rule. The organizations that are badly hurt are CAFOs. They cannot easily change their operations to treat animals in a more humane fashion.

When Grassley, Ernst, and Clark begin their wailing and weeping they show their true colors. They are all for the destruction of the traditional family farm. They hate the family farm. They want the big CAFO and the big campaign contribution. This is largely the state of the Republican Party. People in rural communities are voting for politicians that actively work to destroy the family farm all the while lying and telling the farmers the exact opposite. It’s vile.

Your Vote Matters

If the rural community continue to support politicians like Grassley and Ernst then it gets exactly what it wants and exactly what it deserves.


I’m not telling you for whom to vote but I am saying there are alternatives. It’s easy to get into a mindset where one party is the cause of all your ills and you vote the opposite. Remember, there are third- and fourth-party choices who offer a different vision.

Tom Liberman

California Eggs and the Commerce Clause

Commerce ClauseThe Attorney General of my home state of Missouri just filed a case in federal court over a California law concerning purchasing chicken eggs. The basic premise is that the California legislature has decided that chickens kept in small coops are being abused. Having watched a few videos (graphic content, beware) I can’t say I disagree.

No one is disputing that California can pass laws regulating their own state but what Missouri, Iowa, and other chicken egg producing states are questioning is the effect that it will have on them. Missouri sells about 1.7 billion eggs to California consumers. This represents about 33% of their total sales. When California passes regulations about purchasing it affects states like Missouri.

If Missouri wants to keep those sales it must comply with the California regulation. Thus the lawsuit. Missouri says they are being forced by California to comply with regulations designed for that state. That California is forcing many states to comply with its own regulations. This all falls under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.

The clause is short and sweet but has had a huge impact on laws in the United States. I will end the suspense right away as to where I stand on this issue. As a Libertarian it is my opinion that the Commerce Clause has been stretched, twisted, and maimed beyond all recognition. It is used in all manner of things well beyond what I consider to be its original intent. It reads: [The Congress shall have Power] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes;

In this case largely republicans dominated states are angry that they can’t sell to California without abiding by its rules. If you feel that way, go sell your eggs elsewhere. California is a massive state with a huge population and a giant impact on our economy. If you want to do business with them then abide by their laws. The same goes for Texas where there is much debate about the content of schoolbooks based upon Texas laws. If you decide their laws are burdensome and you don’t wish to participate, then don’t. If the price of eggs in California skyrocket maybe they will change their regulatory laws. Maybe other states will decide that the torturing of chickens is disgusting beyond description and pass the same laws themselves. It’s not up to Missouri to decide what California should do or vice-versa.

Anyone wishing to lambaste one party or the other over the implementation of the Commerce Clause merely needs to look at the various cases that include everything from milk, to guns, to health care, to marijuana. Both sides have eagerly and repeatedly attempted to use the clause to extend their own view of government power while attacking the other side for doing the same.

It is an incredible complex question and directly affects the power of the Judicial Branch to overrule the Legislative Branch. It speaks to State’s Rights. When the Judiciary restricts a law it means that judges are overriding the power of elected officials. When states pass laws that hurt other states and this is overruled it means that Congress has power over the states. There are many, many cases and a great deal of literature on the Clause.

I think where the law often goes wrong is when it assumes the federal government has the authority to create a “fair” commercial field. There are examples of the Commerce Clause being used for ostensibly “good” reasons. Result of which made commerce easier and better for American citizens. This is not, in my opinion, a legitimate reason to grant the federal government this power.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Spear of the Hunt
Next Release: The Broken Throne