- June 28, 2020
Case Study- Case Analysis Method
CaseStudy- Case Analysis Method
PublicSmoking Case Law Analysis
Tobaccouse in public is an offense actionable by the law of the land on theAmerican soil. However, the court to hear cases related to smoking inpublic places that are prohibited by statute is the problem due tomatters that arise in the overlap of law in the doctrine ofseparation of powers, geographical jurisdiction, and courtsinsubordination. The third district constitutional courts see casesthat challenge the authority of the legislature and that of theexecutive branch of government as if they should be left to thebranches of the courts to hear and decide. That makes it difficult tothe members of the public to get justice from their proximity, as thejudges there are, to say the least afraid. However, the court inwhich Justice Harold Hughes Jr. of state supreme court decided fornullifying a state anti-smoking regulation while focusing on criticalissues that he and his colleagues on the state bench have had toresolve in scores of cases every year. The third district court inAlbany has dealt with more cases touching on the doctrine ofseparation of powers than any other district court since it involvesthe seat of the State government.
Inthe case of Boreali V. Axelrod, 1987 in New York, Justice Hughes wasto decide on the matter of who has the right and the responsibilityto regulate smoking in public places. Whether it was supposed to becontrolled by the legislature or the Public Health Council, an agencyof the executive branch, made up of State Health Commissioner, Dr.David Axelrod, and fourteen members appointed by the State Governor. He decided that by adopting a regulation that would have prohibitedsmoking in public indoors and strictly restrict it in restaurants andworkplaces, the council would be doing what the legislature hadcontinually not done for twenty-five years- expanding the law thatregulated smoking in areas like movie theaters and public libraries.
Thesubject matter before the judge to decide consisted two questionswhich were did the council have the authority to promulgate theregulation? And did the regulation have a conflict with the alreadyexisting law? At the end of the case after both parties and thefriends of the court ‘Amicus` had presented their submissions, thejudge in his eight-page brief found that the regulation contravenedand expanded the policy by the legislature as founded in law made in1975. He further decided that the legislative arm of government hadthe mandate and the authority to take action on the great issueswhich sets the national and state`s legal course.
JusticeHughes felt that the executive agencies were headed to taking thecountry for a crisis where they would overstep their mandate topromulgate regulations and laws which were the work of thelegislature to propose and legislate for the executive to implement.If the health council of the executive was allowed to make laws,Justice Hughes felt that it would be a dangerous precedence as theother state agencies would follow the trend. That would plunge thenation and the state into the trouble of a crisis if not a vacuum oflaw making process. Through similar cases as well as this one,Justice Hughes was seen to decide cases in narrow view that onlyidentified and cited what is proper for the executive, and formeddecisions on those views.
Ina similar case involving the public health issues and smoking inpublic, in particular, there was a case of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.versus U.S Food and Drug Administration, 2013 in New York. The lawrequires that FDA establishes a rule that tobacco manufacturers placea warning that covers 50% on the surface of the cigarette packagingbeing rear and front of the pack (Kurti, von Lampe and Johnson,2015). The Act further provides that FDA rules include that warningsshould cover 20% of the surface of the advertisements. The lawrequires that FDA determines colors graphics that are included in thewarnings, which show the negative health effects of smoking. FDAreleased the final rules in June 2011, which were to take effect onSeptember 2012.
OnAugust 2011, five manufacturers that included R.J. Reynolds et al.went to court and filed a suit against FDA in the district court inDistrict of Columbia which challenged FDA graphic warning rule. Theirargument was that the law had violated their first Amendment rightsand that it should put on hold until the case is heard and decided(Kurti, von Lampe and Johnson, 2015). The court granted theapplication that the rule is put on hold, and in February 2012, thecourt decided that the provision contravened First Amendment Rights.
FDAappealed against the ruling to the appeals court, where the subjectmatter was the constitutionality of the rule made by the governmentagency. In the appeal, the decision was inverted and decided for FDA.It argued that the district court erred in applying the strictscrutiny in assessing the constitutionality of the rule, thus usingstringent standard (Kurti, von Lampe and Johnson, 2015). Theappellate court decided that the district court should have used amore permissive Central Hudson standard in analyzing the warninggraphic rule. The purpose of this was to discourage cigarettenon-users from instigating smoking, while at the same timeencouraging current smokers to consider stopping the habit ofsmoking. Further, the court decided that the government had a goalto achieve and that under the Central Hudson standard, the lawregulating speech does not violate the First Amendment Rights. Thatis as long as the government can show that regulation advances alarger and substantial government interest, and the law is no morerestrictive than is necessary to achieve the greatest goal thegovernment or the state has set (Kurti, von Lampe and Johnson, 2015).
Althoughthe majority held that the government`s aim might advance asubstantial interest, the court still decided that the graphic rulewas unconstitutional as FDA could not show that it developed thegreater interest. It was further agreed that FDA could not prove thatthe precise control could lower the level of smoking by any materialdegree. It was also found that there was no evidence that the graphicwarnings had reduced the rates of smoking by the material degree thata country would want.
Inthe case of the New York Statewide Coalition of Hispanic Chambers ofCommerce v. New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene the first division of the appellate court struck out NY Mayor MichaelBloomberg Soda Ban order out in a five bench judgment that wasunanimously reached. The subject matter of the case was that thePublic Health Board did not provide health or scientific expertise insetting the portion cap rule. The rule was however written andsubmitted to the Board by the office of the mayor, which enforced therules without any changes (Roberto and Pomeranze, 2016). The case wasdecided based on three factors. First, that public Health Councilengaged in the balancing of competing issues of concern between thepublic health and economic costs. In so doing, they acted solelyrelying on own ideas and opinions of sound policy (Roberto andPomeranze, 2016). Secondly, the Health Agency did not engage in theinterstitial rulemaking as typically done by the administrativeagencies, but without involving the benefit of guidance from thelegislative body, wrote on a clean slate and created theircomprehensive set of rules. Thirdly, that the regulations touched onthe area the legislature had attempted to reach a consensus butfailed in the face or robust public debate and lobbying from variousfactions interested in the matter (Roberto and Pomeranze, 2016). Thecourt cited that the doctrine of separation of powers provided thatlegislature that is elected by the people, and not the administrationappointed by the executive should resolve complicated matters bymaking choices among competing ends (Roberto and Pomeranze, 2016). Itwas finally cited that if the board enforced the rule thereby banningthe sale of sodas larger than 16 ounces as a healthy rule, therecould arise many exemptions for some classes of vendors.
Inmy opinion, issues of administration are left to the agencies todecide and enforce the law. However, the bodies working on theexecutive arm of government should not make rules and then enforcethem. Making laws should be a preserve of the legislature, where ifthe agencies feel there are gray areas in the course of the exerciseof their operations, they should propose a law or an amendment to thecongress or the senate for them to come up with the legislation. Itis subverting the constitution to have laws being made by thegovernment agencies working under executive and being enforcedwithout the approval of the legislators. That is suicidal for acountry.
Inconclusion, the courts are instruments that act as the voice ofreason. It is, therefore, prudent for the government bodies toconsult and seek an advisory opinion from the judiciary who willadvise the whole government by setting an agenda for the nation asregards legal matters. Further, the doctrine of the separation ofpowers should be clear of overlap as that is where one would actultra vires which are dangerous, and the nation lives on courtbattles all the time.
Kurti,M., von Lampe, K., & Johnson, J. (2015). The intended andunintended consequences of a
legalmeasure to cut the flow of illegal cigarettes into New York City: thecase of the
SouthBronx. Americanjournal of public health,105(4),750-756.
Roberto,C. A., & Pomeranz, J. L. (2015). Public Health and LegalArguments in Favor of a
Policyto Cap the Portion Sizes of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages. Americanjournal of