Big Gulp: New York Judge Strikes Down Bloomberg’s Beverage Ban

110px-Big_gulp6480220px-Michael_R_BloombergManhattan state Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling has struck a victory for sanity (as well as individual choice) in striking down New York Mayor Bloomberg’s widely ridiculed ban on large sugary drinks. As we previously discussed, the law was a poorly drafted and poorly conceived ban that allowed a host of higher caloric drinks to be sold in bars and other establishments. Tingling found the law to be “arbitrary and capricious.” Bloomberg has appeared to have developed an insatiable appetite to dictating what others can eat, including a proposed crackdown on popcorn and milk. After the soda ban, a long list of items have been put forward to Bloomberg to ban before Judge Tingling put a halt to the feeding frenzy.


Tingling focused on the obvious “loopholes” in the law that barred sales for some establishments while allowed the drinks to be sold by other establishments “even within a particular City block, much less the City as a whole.” The judge also found that the law created a an administrative Leviathan and violate the separation of powers doctrine” by sweeping into areas of legislative authority with the city council.

As we discussed earlier, I have no problem with banning sodas in school as many district have done. However, Bloomberg has decided that educational programs and warnings are not enough because adults are not meeting the expectations of the government. Bloomberg is quoted as saying “I look across this country, and people are obese, and everybody wrings their hands, and nobody’s willing to do something about it.” The solution therefore is to take away choice and to dictate Dr. Bloomberg’s diet for all citizens.

Bloomberg insisted that when you are told that you cannot have that soda, “Nobody is taking away any of your rights. This way, we’re just telling you ‘That’s a lot of soda.’” Really? Sounds a lot like “you can’t have that soda.”

Honestly, if prohibition did not work for alcohol, it is likely to be even less successful for sodas. Then there are those other items like french fries, onion rings, and other unhealthy foods eaten in excessive quantities. How about requiring proof that a large stuffed pizza has no fewer than four persons willing to sign for it? I think people have a right to an unhealthy lifestyle. This is not like second-hand smoke that harms others. You can be around someone with a large soda and remain perfectly healthy. Then there are those high calorie alcoholic drinks being served with the loaded stuffed potatoes in bars around New York.

After the ruling, Bloomberg insisted “I’ve got to defend my children, and yours, and do what’s right to save lives.” Sixty percent of New Yorkers opposed the limit and clearly believe that they do not need Bloomberg making choices for them or their families. However, most parents feel that they can defend their own children and make choices for them. Moreover, Bloomberg did not ban sodas for school children, he dictated what adults can drink. The ban was facially absurd from the start since it would only force customers to buy multiple drinks if they wanted the same amount. Then there was the confusion of the lines of exemptions. The ban did not apply to pure fruit juice or fruit smoothies or drinks that are more than half milk. Starbucks yesterday vowed to continue to serve sweetened coffee drinks before the ruling, causing an outburst by Bloomberg.

Undeterred, Bloomberg has decided to spend more money in fighting the ruling and affirm his right to control the diets of people in the city. He rejects the widespread objections over individual choice and insists that New Yorkers must be required to comply with the dietary demands of his government. However, that Tingling feeling yesterday was the voice of reason.

Source: WSJ

186 thoughts on “Big Gulp: New York Judge Strikes Down Bloomberg’s Beverage Ban”

  1. Gene,

    I’m against smoking bans in public, too. I think smoking is different from drinking alcohol or ingesting sugar. People in the vicinity of those drinking alcohol and eating sugar don’t suffer the ill effects of sugar and alcohol consumption.

    I’d add that people often have no idea how much sugar they actually consume because it–especially HFCS–is an ingredient in many foods and snacks, even those that don’t taste sweet.

  2. Bron,

    I’m not a person who wants government involved in the minutiae of people’s daily lives. Do you assume that I do because I support smoking bans in restaurants and planes for health reasons?

  3. Elaine,

    Sorry, I’m too busy today to argue food chemistry in depth. I will, however, stipulate that sugar in any form (like damn near anything else) in too high a dosage is toxic and none of it is particularly good for you. There is a difference between consumption for nourishment and consumption for recreation. If you’re eating sugar(s) for solely for recreation like most do with consuming alcohol and nicotine? You’ve got a pretty addiction interesting problem in itself. The comparison of alcohol, nicotine and sugar in an argument of incomplete comparison. They are generally not consumed for the same purposes or in the same manner. In the end? What you choose to ingest – emphasis on choose – should be your business. And again, I have no problem with the smoking ban anywhere but bars because it’s hypocritical. I also have a problem if smoking bans extend to your own home and outdoors (with the exception of fire hazards) as well.

  4. eLaine:

    You can pry that smoke from my cold, dead hands. Give me Partagas or give me death.

    What would you call a person who wants government involved in the minutia of daily life? At a minimum I would say they werent all that keen on personal liberty.

  5. Blouise, Thinking about it….. I think the discussion if one could call it that Bob and I just had was a continuation of the disagreement Bob and I had over assault weapons a few months ago. He got even more riled up about his guns than his smokes and sodas. 😉

  6. “Elaine,
    You gotta stop throwing your voice!” (raf)

    D*mn! I wished I’d thought of that. Perfect rejoinder to a remark that was offensive and said for no other reason than to give offense.

  7. Blouise,
    Well said. The idea of limiting the size of sugary drinks is a far cry from second hand smoke. I never liked the term second hand smoke because when I was in a bar in my college days, I think I inhaled as much smoke as the smokers! I like to refer to it as first hand smoke from a second hand source.

  8. rafflaw,

    You know that I’ve been called terrible names and accused of many things on this blog. Maybe it’s because I often talk out of my “ample a**”–something that I was recently accused of doing.

    🙂

  9. “Frankly, as much as I respect Gene and Blouise, I could care less about their opinions,… ” Harrumph!

    (See, I can take things out of context too and out of respect for your intelligence, I am not going to add a smiley)

    We are talking philosophy here and how our take on different philosophical ideas leads us to political stances. SwM is more of a socialist than I but nowhere near the foolishness that is communism. She and Bob were both using the term as a baiting technique to illustrate their points.

    I’m not too sure that selling oversized cups of coke to an individual for consumption is a “limited form of liberty” nor how an argument could be mounted that makes it so. Unlike second-hand smoke which limits the smoker’s “right” because it contravenes the right to life and liberty of the non-smoker … how does over consumption of coke by an individual limit the life and liberty of the non-consumer?

    Over consumption of coke is a decision that falls under the “duty of virtue” of self to oneself. You can’t legislate a duty of virtue as if it were a duty of right without first proving that the consumption of coke is a limited liberty.

  10. Swarthmore,
    I have been called worse names than that! 🙂

    I am a little confused why society cannot decide that it is in the best interests of all citizens to not smoke in public places? Do we not have a say in that decision through the choice of our elected officials? If an individuals right to smoke should be his or her own decision, is there a limit to the individual’s right to make me sick? An individual does have the right to do just about whatever he or she wants to in their own home, but in my opinion, they do not have the right to make me sick with their smoke in any building that allows the public access to.

  11. all y’all can give Bob Esq shizam but he is right about subtle ideas leading to a generalized philosophy you may not even have ever thought you held.

    I am not sure I am saying that right but I think you get the idea.

  12. Gene,

    Care to go into more detail on the different kinds of sugar? BTW, there has been some research conducted that has shown that a little alcohol may be good for one.

  13. Elaine,

    Not all sugar is created equal. The same cannot be said of potable alcohol.

  14. Not to get off topic (even though we have), but Carl Jung was a sexist (he viewed woman as inferior to men, as most known pyschologist of his era, including Freud, Piaget, Kohlberg, and even Perry; these people-and there are more-refused to include women and girls in their studies/research). See the following article on Jung:

    http://www.newfoundations.com/WOMAN/Jung.html

    Every woman (and men, too) should purchase the book “Woman’s Ways of Knowing: The Development of Self,Voice, and Mind” (1986 & 1997 edition). This book will inspire and maybe even revolutionize your life.

  15. Certainly, Mike. Bob was “playing with his food” as far as his argumentation goes. That doesn’t invalidate the point at which he was driving though.

    1. Of course Bob”s point was valid, at least as you expounded on it. In fact weren’t my early comment on the thread in agreement with that sentiment? I didn’t like the “playing with his food part”. Bullying for its own sake seems repellent to me. Of course that’s just my uninformed philosophical ramblings.

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