New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced that the city’s request for an expedited hearing on its appeal of a court ruling striking down a limitation on the size of sugar-sweetened beverages sold in certain retail venues has been granted and that friend-of-the-court briefs have been filed in support of the city’s appeal. The lead signatories to the amicus briefs are the National Alliance for Hispanic Health and National Association of Local Boards of Health. They were joined by 30 other organizations and health advocates, including the Harlem Health Promotion Center, Rudd Center, Public Health Law Center, and Northeastern University School of Law Professor Wendy Parmet.
According to Bloomberg, “The organizations and individuals who have joined these amicus briefs understand the toll that obesity is taking on communities here in New York City and across the nation. Sugary drinks are a leading contributor to the obesity epidemic that is hitting low-income communities especially hard, and we cannot afford to pretend otherwise.” The mayor’s press release further notes that one of the briefs “focuses on scientific evidence showing a strong correlation between sugary drink consumption and obesity and chronic diseases, with a focus on the disproportionate impact to underserved communities.” The other brief “demonstrates the legality and appropriateness of incremental approaches to public health that local boards of health have made.” Arguments before the appeals court have apparently been scheduled for June 2013. Details about the state court ruling invalidating the ordinance appear in Issue 475 of this Update. See Mayor Michael Bloomberg Press Release, March 28, 2013.