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NYC’s Ban on Supersized Sugary Drinks Holds No Legal Water, Judge Says

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposal to ban sugary drinks over 16 ounces – passed by the city’s Board of Health last year – was struck down by a judge this week.

The so-called Portion Cup Rule, which was set to take effect Tuesday, would have applied to fast food and sit down restaurants, movie theaters and sports venues.

Judge Milton Tingling of the New York Supreme Court pronounced the controversial rule to be “arbitrary and capricious” in his decision, issued Monday, because it applies to some establishments but not others (convenience and grocery stores would be exempt).

He also found the beverage size limit to be overreaching on the part of the Board of Health, which he said did not have the authority to make such a decision.

“The Portion Cap Rule, if upheld, would create an administrative Leviathan and violate the separation of powers doctrine,” wrote Tingling.

The American Beverage Association, one of the seven industry plaintiffs, praised the decision.

“[Monday]’s court ruling provides a sigh of relief to New Yorkers and thousands of small businesses in New York City that would have been harmed by this arbitrary and unpopular ban,” said ABA in a statement Tuesday.

Bloomberg was quick to criticize the ruling, saying that his administration would see that it was overturned.

“We strongly believe that, in the end, the courts will recognize the Board of Health’s authority to regulate the sale of beverages that have virtually no nutritional value, and which – consumed in large quantities – are leading to disease and death for thousands of people every year,” said Bloomberg at a press conference in City Hall Monday.

Bloomberg cited examples of past cases in which the court has upheld rules passed by the Board of Health to impact public health.

“We believe it is reasonable and responsible to draw a line – and that is what the Board of Health has done. As a matter of fact, it would be irresponsible not to try to do everything we can to save lives,” said the mayor.

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