Press Release

Alaska Joins Brief Supporting the Presumption against Federal Preemption of State Laws

October 11, 2011

Anchorage, Alaska – The State of Alaska joined a brief supporting the presumption that federal law should not preempt state law in areas of historical state regulation.  The presumption requires Congress to make it clear that it intends to preempt state action. 

The State joined the brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court at the direction of Attorney General John Burns. Alaska joined California, Illinois, and several other states in asserting the right of states to create regulations under the presumption.

National Meat Association v. Harris deals with a California law prohibiting slaughterhouses from buying, selling, receiving, processing, or butchering animals that are unable to stand or walk without assistance.  The law also requires the slaughterhouse to take immediate action to humanely kill these animals.

The National Meat Association filed suit claiming that the Federal Meat Inspection Act preempted California from regulating these “downer” animals.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Federal Meat Inspection Act did not preempt California from prohibiting slaughterhouses from receiving and slaughtering animals that are unable to stand or walk without assistance.  The National Meat Association appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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