Sovereign ImMOOnity


The Washington Times reports that California's high court has refused to hear an appeal by PETA in its false advertising suit against the state's Milk Advisory Board.

The MAB runs commercials showing happy cows grazing in lush green pastures—a depiction PETA considers a fraudulent misrepresentation of the living conditions of the state's livestock. Now, on the merits, I'm inclined to sympathize at least in principle here: I routinely pay a little more for milk and eggs advertised as having been produced in humane conditions from cage-free animals. I'd certainly feel scammed if those claims proved to be false.

But merits of the suit notwithstanding, what's a bit distressing is the rationale for the ruling: As a government entity (its part of California's agriculture department), the MAB is exempt from the state's false advertising laws. That raises the disturbing prospect that an industry can get a free pass on fraudulent claims so long as it filters them through some state bureau set up to tout their goods. Of couurse, given the penchant of all sorts of government agencies for making bullshit claims, you can scarcely blame them for wanting the exemption. (Hat tip: Rational Review)