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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Another Federal Agency Gets Spanked

The EPA isn't alone in its effort to dictate beyond its authority:
Federal appeals court strikes down FDA tobacco warning label law
By Bill Mears, CNN

Washington (CNN) -- A government mandate requiring tobacco companies to place graphic images on their products warning of the dangers of smoking was tossed out Friday by a divided federal appeals court, with the majority saying the requirements were a violation of free speech protections.

The Food and Drug Administration was ordered to immediately revise its rules.

"The First Amendment requires the government not only to state a substantial interest justifying a regulation on commercial speech, but also to show that its regulation directly advances that goal," wrote Judge Janice Rogers Brown. "FDA failed to present any data -- much less the substantial evidence required under the federal law -- showing that enacting their proposed graphic warnings will accomplish the agency's stated objective of reducing smoking rates. The rule thus cannot pass muster" under past court precedent.

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, passed in 2009, would have required nine written warnings such as "Cigarettes are addictive" and "Tobacco smoke causes harm to children." Also included would have been alternating images of a corpse and smoke-infected lungs.

A group of tobacco companies led by R.J. Reynolds and Lorillard had sued, saying the warnings would be cost-prohibitive and would dominate and damage the packaging and promotion of their brands. The legal question was whether the new labeling was purely factual and accurate in nature or was designed to discourage use of the products.

A federal judge in March had ruled in favor of the tobacco companies. The 2-1 U.S Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia panel has now affirmed that ruling. [link]
It is not the role of the federal government to put legitimate businesses that politicians (and liberal busybodies) don't like out of business. Coal miners and tobacco farmers are citizens too, after all.

The court has done a good thing. Here's to those who are willing to stand up for We the People.