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Federal Court Upholds Milk Regulatory Equity Act

May 3, 2012

On April 13, the D.C. Court of Appeals issued its decision upholding the Milk Regulatory Equity Act, supported by NMPF and passed by Congress in 2005 to provide for more consistent regulation of milk handlers in the Southwestern United States. Among other things, the law put a size limit on the producer-handler exemption in the Arizona Federal Milk Marketing Order.

The owners of one large producer-handler took the government to court over this change, arguing that the law was an illegal attack on his business alone, and that he was denied due process and equal protection of the law. In its decision, the Court of Appeals agreed with the lower court that the government was well within its rights, based on settled constitutional law, to bring the producer-handler under the same regulation faced by other, competing handlers. According to that decision, such producer-handlers “have no liberty or property interest in the regulatory status quo.” That is, they don’t own the old regulation or have any right to compensation or remedy for its amendment.