Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Slaughtering Horses and the Dormant Commerce Clause

As many of you know, I've been wallowing in the dormant Commerce Clause and corporate farming laws for a while. One recent DCC case has also caught my eye.

Take a look at Cavel Internationa, Inc. v. Madigan (No. 07-2658, 9/21/07) In addition to a very coherent account of the DCC doctrine, the case mentions Bo Derek, John Stuart Mill, and stray cougars that could pose a problem to equine retirement pastures. Indeed, the opinion comes complete with a color photograph of a lion approaching a horse-meat birthday cake.

The court, in my opinion, asks all the right questions about the DCC doctrine (though it doesn't answer many of them). Specifically, it wonders about the role of discriminatory effects--weak or strong--in DCC cases and the role of Pike in light of Due Process inquiries. The court also, and I think rightly so, refrains from delving into the sticky issue of purpose as a stand-alone DCC inquiry (although there is some language in the opinion to suggest that animus toward outsiders would be a problem).

Oh, the result . . . the Illinois amendments to its Horse Meat Act do not run afoul of the Commerce Clause. So no one may slaughter horses in Illinois for human consumption.