For 11 years, Mayor Mike Bloomberg has gone out of his way to bypass the democratic process by issuing mayoral edicts. He has assumed vast powers in the name of public health.
Through the city's health department, Bloomberg made restaurants post calorie counts on their menus. He also barred artificial trans fats in french fries and other restaurant food.
Companies accepted these edicts, but Bloomberg's decision to bar companies from selling soft drinks larger than 16 ounces drew a challenge in court.
"New Yorkers do not want to be told what to drink," attorney James Brandt told Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling.
Brandt represented the American Beverage Association. The NAACP, the Hispanic Foundation, Korean grocers, movie theater owners, corner stores, and five members of city council have also objected in court.
They argue the rule should require approval by City Council. In their filing, the five council members said council is "the proper forum for balancing the city's myriad interests in matters of public health."
The litigants also point out that the exemptions are arbitrary. For example, the restriction does not apply to supermarkets, convenience stores and 7-Eleven, home of the 30-ounce Big Gulp.