Mayor Bloomberg suffered a setback in his effort to combat runaway obesity in the city when State Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling ruled that the city’s ban on large sugary drinks could not be implemented. Just hours before it was to take effect at midnight, Judge Tingling declared that the ban was “fraught with arbitrary and capricious circumstances.”
The restrictions would have applied to the serving of sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces.
The court ruling contended that the Board of Health measure was invalid and unconstitutional. It said the City Council, as the municipal legislative body, should have the authority to vote on such a restrictive measure.
Mayor Bloomberg defended the ban, and noted, “Being the first to do something is never easy. When we started, we knew we would face lawsuits.”
The American Beverage Association and others sued the city to block the ban. Reacting to the court edict, it stated, “Today’s court ruling provides a sigh of relief to New Yorkers and thousands of small businesses that would have been harmed by the arbitrary, unpopular ban.”
Mayor Bloomberg vowed that the fight was not quite over. “We think the judge was totally in error in the way he interpreted the law and we feel we will win on appeal,” he asserted.
Bloomberg launched the controversial plan to ban large sugary drinks last fall as a way to fight an epidemic in the city where 60% of its residents are overweight or obese. The Mayor said he intends an immediate appeal of the judge’s ban on his ban.