Six states, including Nebraska, have been prevented from pressing their case against a California law which prohibits the sale of eggs from chickens not raised in accordance with its strict state standards.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled unanimously the states failed to prove the law would have a harmful impact on them rather than on individual egg farmers. The court upheld a lower court decision dismissing the lawsuit.
The six states – Nebraska, Missouri, Oklahoma, Alabama, Kentucky, and Iowa – objected to a ballot initiative approved by California voters in 2008 that set space requirements for egg-laying hens in the state. Farmers hand until 2015 to ensure eggs sold in California came from chickens with enough space to stand up, turn around and fully extend their wings.
The states brought the lawsuit in 2014. It argued California voters were attempting to regulate farming operations in other states in violation of the commerce clause of the Constitution.
The court left open the possibility of egg producers in Nebraska and the other states filing lawsuits on their own.
Kay Henderson, Radio Iowa, contributed to this story.