New York City Mayor Nanny Michael Bloomberg got a well-deserved legal spanking of his own today from a state court judge ruling against his imperial ban on the sale of large-size sodas and other sweetened drinks. The prohibition was due to take effect on Tuesday.
New York Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling—to his everlasting credit—declared the ban to be “fraught with arbitrary and capricious consequences,” and thus enjoined the city from implementing or enforcing it.
Sanity, at last.
Under the regulation, sugary drinks could not be sold in containers larger than 16 ounces by restaurants, delis, movie theaters, stadiums, and street vendors. Convenience stores and supermarkets were exempt. Violators would be fined $200 per sale following a three-month grace period.
The good judge rightfully took Bloomberg to task for effectively legislating the ban through the New York City Board of Health, which he alone appoints, rather than the City Council.
The health board, the judge stated, is not authorized to “limit or ban a legal item under the guise of controlling chronic disease.”
In other words, even (supposedly) good intentions cannot justify abuse of government authority.
If the mayor really wants to improve public well-being, he ought to propose a ban on politicians who can’t control their appetite for power.