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National Meat Ass’n v. Harris

The National Meat Association challenged a California statute concerning the treatment of non-ambulatory animals. The NMA argued that the Federal Meat Inspection Act preempted the state law, and that a presumption against preemption should not inform the analysis of the preemption question. When the U.S. Supreme Court took the case, we filed an amicus brief explaining that, where the scope of express preemption is unclear, the presumption against preemption is a necessary tool of statutory construction that has a constitutional basis and is consistent with the Supreme Court’s approach to resolving ambiguities in other contexts. Without addressing the presumption, the Court held that the California law was preempted by the federal law.