The San Francisco Board of Supervisors have approved a ban on Happy Meals and other fast-food servings that fail to meet nutritional standards. While sympathetic to the motivations behind the legislation, I have serious questions over the constitutionality (and logic) of the ban.
For many years, advocates attempted to use tort law to curtail fast-food as a defective product or a nuisance. Like others, I was critical of the use of tort law in those cases. Now, there seems a push to simply try to outlaw such food. Yet, it is hard to see how they can satisfy even the rational basis test under constitutional law. After all, other low nutrition food will be available in a city famous for its Ghirardelli’s chocolate. They are simply targeting those chains which give away toys.
Moreover, this denies parents the ultimate say as to what their children eat. Parents may impose a perfectly healthy diet on their children but allow them to eat at McDonald’s once a week or once a month. This is the ultimate expression of patneralistic legislation — taking such decisions from parents. Companies could challenge the law under equal protection, due process, and other constitutional claims.
The government can certainly demand the posting of nutritional information and campaign against such low nutrition foods. It can certainly ban such food from school cafeterias, but this is one bill (in my view) that would not pass constitutional mustard . . . I mean muster.
387 thoughts on “San Francisco Bans Happy Meals and Other Fast-Food Meals Served With Toys”
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I happen to agree with you. I’m just relaying the news, not making it.
But you don’t need a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.
Thanks for the update, Buddha. Good news.
You may find this interesting too in light of how the conservation turned . . .
Voters Strongly Back Amending Constitution To Restrict Corporate Political Spending
“By a double-digit margin, voters want Congress to amend the Constitution to overturn the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United that allows unlimited corporate spending on elections, a new poll paid for by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee has found.
Nearly a fifth of voters remain undecided on an issue that has only been live since the Supreme Court overturned a century of legislation and precedent in a 5-4 ruling whose effect was visible to anybody with a television through the months of September and October. Of those who have an opinion, 46 percent said that ‘Congress should consider drastic measures such as a constitutional amendment overturning the recent Supreme Court decision allowing unlimited corporate spending in elections,’ while 36 percent disagreed.”
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