Foie Gras & Chicago: Restaurants Fight the Trendy Left
A restaurant coalition has filed a lawsuit today challenging the Chicago City Council’s ban on the sale of foie gras, which takes effect this week. Here’s a copy of the complaint.Stephen Bainbridge, at Tech Central Station, notes the fact that the “City of the Big Shoulders” has become the city of the trendy effete types.
The Illinois Restaurant Association and Allen’s New American Cafe, a popular Chicago restaurant, claim that the ban violates the Illinois constitution and is seeking a preliminary and permanent injunction to stop the rule from taking effect. The IRA and a farmers’ alliance says the ban will cost the Chicago economy an estimated $18 million per year.
Barry Rosen, a partner at Chicago’s Sachnoff & Weaver, which represents the plaintiffs, says the Illinois Constitution only permits municipalities to legislate regarding local problems and not activities that are more properly dealt with by other state or local governments. “The issue in this lawsuit is not whether the production of foie gras is or is not humane. The lawsuit is about the bounds of local governmental power,” Rosen said. Here’s the nub of his constiutional argument:Local governments are empowered under the Illinois constitution to deal with local problems. All of the foie gras sold in Chicago restaurants is lawfully produced in other states or countries. None is produced in Chicago. So, the City Council ban on restaurant sale is not designed to address any local problems, such as how animals are treated in Chicago. Since local governments are empowered by the Illinois Constitution to deal only with local issues, this ordinance is unconstitutional.
Bainbridge gets a lot of milage out of the fact that liberals, when the issue is (say) legalizing sodomy, piously intone “you can’t impose your moral views on other people.”
But outlawing foie gras is nothing if not the imposition of a particular set of moral views.
Check here for the latest update on this situation.