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Appellate Court Upholds NYC’s Sodium Warnings Rule

Tuesday, February 14, 2017  
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Appellate Court Upholds NYC’s Sodium Warnings Rule
February 10, Public Good Law Center

In a unanimous decision, the five justices determined that the Rule was a proper exercise of the Board of Health’s authority; that it was not arbitrary and capricious; that it did not violate the First Amendment; and that it was not preempted by federal law.

The amicus brief NALBOH joined – which was specifically referenced by the court – made precisely the arguments adopted by the court on the last three of these four issues. The brief also – crucially – focused on the scientific evidence supporting the Rule. Indeed, the outcome of the case was suggested by the very first sentence of the opinion: “Salt is both an essential ingredient of our diet and, when consumed in excess, a significant health hazard.”  The court seems to have been persuaded not only by the breadth and depth of the evidence presented, but also by the organizations that put their names on the brief containing that evidence. The opinion specifically mentions signatories to the amicus brief several times.

In other words, partner’s presence in this case made a real difference.  For that, and for the privilege of working with all of you, our sincere thanks.

The case may yet be appealed to New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, so this victory is likely not the last step in making sure that New Yorkers are provided information they need to protect their health. But it is an important moment nonetheless, and one worth celebrating.  

Ted Mermin, J.D.
Public Good Law Center