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Distinguished Prof. Robson on Constitutionality of Sugary Drinks Ban

June 14, 2012

Distinguished Professor Ruthann Robson is quoted in a Queens Chronicle article about the legality of a proposed ban on sugary drinks in New York City. The proposal would limit the size of sugary drinks sold in food service establishments to 16 ounces or less. This would apply to restaurants, mobile food carts, delis, concessions at movie theaters, stadiums and arenas. Some City Council members have asked the Mayor to let the Council vote on whether to pass the proposal instead of the Department of Health making the decision alone.

Commenting on the constitutionality of the proposal, Prof. Robson said, “Most of the constitutional issues raised are related to individual liberty: people wonder whether the government can ‘tell them’ the size that drinks should be,” Robson said. “But of course, governments pass all sorts of regulations regarding food and other consumption items.”

The ban would not be a First Amendment issue, according to Robson, because it is not a “labeling or disclosure requirement, such as the listing of calories on menus.”

Prof. Robson teaches in the areas of constitutional law, family law, feminist legal theory, and sexuality and the law. She is the author of many articles in such journals as New York Law School Journal of Human Rights, Albany Law Review, Women’s Rights Law Reporter, Hastings Law Journal, Australian Feminist Law Journal, and Yearbook of New Zealand Jurisprudence.

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