COOL Argument Gets Another Hearing
April 11, 2014

The meat groups' request for a stay in the enforcement of country-of-origin labeling (COOL) laws will get another hearing before a panel of judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, according to court papers filed last week.

The North American Meat Association, American Meat Institute and several other groups filed a lawsuit last summer, arguing that mandatory COOL regulations, as written, are unconstitutional. They also asked that the law not be enforced while their case made its way through the court system.

Last week, the D.C. appellate court ruled against the request for a stay, however, the opinion noted that existing case law pointed in conflicting directions and recommended an en banc hearing by a panel of the court's judges.

The most recent court order established such a hearing, scheduled for May 19. The specific issue that the panel is to consider is whether the COOL regulations constitute a form of compelled speech that is allowable under the First Amendment.