A state judge on Monday blocked the Bloomberg administration's citywide ban on large sugary drinks.
The measure, slated to take effect Tuesday, would have prevented restaurants, theaters, sports stadiums, and any place that receives a letter grade from the city's Health Department from selling sugary drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces.
In his decision, State Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling said the ban is "unconstitutional and in violation of the separation of powers."
He went on to say the measure is "fraught with arbitrary and capricious consequences", noting that it applies to some but not all food establishments and excludes some drinks that have significantly higher concentrations of sugar and calories on suspect grounds.
In a statement, the city law department said it plans to appeal the decision, adding, "This measure is part of the City’s multi-pronged effort to combat the growing obesity epidemic, which takes the lives of more than 5,000 New Yorkers every year, and we believe the Board of Health has the legal authority – and responsibility – to tackle its leading causes."
City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley also released a statement that said the decision threatens the health of New Yorkers.
"Without a portion cap on sugary drinks, it would be harder to tackle an obesity epidemic that kills more New Yorkers than anything other than smoking and causes misery for many thousands more who suffer from heart disease, diabetes and other debilitating illnesses," Farley's statement read. "Sugary drinks are a leading cause of this epidemic. Today’s decision threatens the health of New Yorkers, but we are confident that we will win on appeal.”
Monday's ruling sides with members of several beverage and shop owners' groups who had argued the ban would place an unfair burden on small businesses.
In a statement, a spokesman for the American Beverage Association said, "The court ruling provides a sigh of relief to New Yorkers and thousands of small businesses in New York City that would have been harmed by this arbitrary and unpopular ban. With this ruling behind us, we look forward to collaborating with city leaders on solutions that will have a meaningful and lasting impact on the people of New York City."
Fraught with arbitrary and capricious consequences.
A violation of the separation of powers.
Sounds like history of Bloomberg's reign of error - especially this third (illegal) term.