The American form of government was never designed to be intrusive enough to tell citizens how much soda they can consume. But thanks to a century of court rulings suggesting that the power of government is unlimited when it comes to regulating business, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is confident that suits against his newest busybody initiative – regulating the size of sugary drinks in the city – will fail.
There are two main arguments now being launched in the New York courts against Bloomberg’s nanny statism. The first is the most obvious: Bloomberg’s soda size restriction is an unconstitutional burden on business without any rational basis. Businesses point out that the ban only applies to some businesses and not others, preventing small businesses from distributing such drinks while allowing big chains to do so. But thanks to liberals’ bizarre construction of the Constitution, that argument is likely to fail.
The next challenge has been brought by minority groups, who suggest that the new law impermissibly and disproportionately affects them. The problem is that this is a neutral law of general applicability, so it is doubtful whether a court will pay any attention to the fact that wealthy folks will be able to end-around the sugary drink ban, while the poorer will have to abide by it, or that small neighborhood shops that are minority owned will be damaged by the law.
It is somewhat ironic to watch as the same liberals in New York City who have argued for years that government should have no limits now argue that government power ends at Mountain Dew. The same government that is powerful enough to redistribute wealth in the city, though, is powerful enough to redistribute soda.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the book “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).