Earlier today, a New York Appellate Court popped the ban on pop, revoked the choke on Coke, and overruled the hard line on soft drinks. In March, a day before the ban was set to take effect, New York Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling refused to let the city enforce the ban on large soda, calling it “arbitrary, capricious and beyond the city's regulatory powers.” The state Supreme Court's Appellate Division unanimously upheld that ruling.
Mayor Bloomberg’s now notorious soda ban sought to bar eating establishments from selling 16-ounce non-diet sodas. The ban was part of an effort to curb the rate of obesity. Soda drinkers of New York, which is to say most New Yorkers, felt otherwise. Beverage makers and consumers challenged the law, arguing it violated consumer freedom.
"Like the Supreme Court, we conclude that in promulgating this regulation the Board of Health failed to act within the bounds of its lawfully delegated authority," the unanimous decision read.
Interestingly, the ruling does not say that the law itself violated consumer freedom. Instead, the ruling reprimands how the ban was passed rather than the nature of the ban itself. The New York Board of Health passed the portion cap unilaterally with Mayor Bloomberg side-stepping the city council. Board of Health members, incidentally, are appointed by the Mayor. The ruling essentially allows for such bans to take effect but only if passed correctly and more collaboratively.
Mayor Bloomberg and his health plans, however, are far from fizzled out. Still in effect are the Mayor’s ban on smoking in public places, the ban on transfats, and the requirement on restaurant chains to display calorie contents. Furthermore, the Mayor has called this ruling only a “temporary setback” and plans to appeal.
Tonight, many will toast to this restitution from 16-ounce celebratory sodas.