An appeals judge struck down New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's attempt to ban large sugary drinks from movie theaters, sports arenas and other establishments on Tuesday, saying the proposed law was an overreach of executive power.
Under the law, known as the "soda ban," businesses overseen by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene would not be allowed to sell sodas and other sugary beverages larger than 16 ounces or face up to $200 in fines. New York Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling ruled in March that the city could not enforce the ban. The appellate court's ruling unanimously upheld a previous ruling, saying the law was unconstitutional and would have "violated the state principle of separation of powers," according to Reuters.
"Like the Supreme Court, we conclude that in promulgating this regulation the Board of Health failed to act within the bounds of its lawfully delegated authority," the judges wrote in unanimous decision, USA Today reported.
Bloomberg first proposed the ban in May 2012 as a way to fight the city's obesity epidemic; New York City spends about $4.7 billion each year on obesity-related medical costs and nearly two-thirds of New York residents are obese or overweight, The Epoch Times reported. The city's Board of Health initially approved the ban last September, but it was ruled unconstitutional a day before it was set to take effect.
Corporate Counsel Michael Cardozo said in a released statement that he and Bloomberg "firmly disagree" with the court's ruling and plan to quickly appeal the decision.
"There is broad precedent for the Board of Health to adopt significant measures to protect New Yorkers' public health," Cardozo said.
Bloomberg said that more than 2,000 New Yorkers have died from the effects of diabetes since the soda ban was prevented from going into effect in March.
"Today's decision is a temporary setback, and we plan to appeal this decision as we continue the fight against the obesity epidemic," Bloomberg said in a released statement.
At a press conference after the ban was struck down in March, Bloomberg said that the city had a "responsibility as human beings to do something to save each other."
But opponents have said the city overreached and those limitations could be damaging to businesses because they may have to turn away more customers, according to The Washington Post.
"For the first time, this agency is telling the public how much of a safe and lawful beverage it can drink," Richard Bress, a lawyer for the American Beverage Association, told the appeals court at a hearing in June, the Post reported. "This is the government coercing lifestyle decisions."