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Arizona Restaurateur Sues Bureaucrats to Stop Illegal Power Grab

November 16, 2023

Arizona small business owner Grant Krueger was already running his restaurants on razor-thin margins before unelected bureaucrats with the state Department of Agriculture (AZDA) mandated that only cage-free eggs be sold in Arizona. Today the Goldwater Institute and Pacific Legal foundation filed suit on Grant’s behalf, challenging the agency’s illegal power grab, which violates the Arizona Constitution.

Over Grant’s 34 years in the restaurant business, he’s seen first-hand the impact of reckless government policy, including inflationary pressures, wage mandates, and COVID decrees. Now, at a time when restaurants and restaurant-goers alike are already struggling with inflated food prices, the new cage-free egg rule will increase costs, while poaching his rights and scrambling the rule of law.

“I had no seat at the table for any of this,” said Grant, who buys more than 2,000 eggs per week to supply his three Tucson-area restaurants. “Unaccountable, unelected bureaucrats shouldn’t be able to arbitrarily impose these kinds of harmful mandates on small business owners like me.”

When a state’s elected representatives cede their lawmaking power to unaccountable bureaucrats, it results in rules that benefit regulators and the regulated industry at the expense of everyone else. The egg rule wasn’t passed by the Arizona Legislature, even though the Arizona Constitution gives the power to make law only to the legislature. And cage-free eggs are more expensive to produce than conventional methods—so much so that the mandate could impose up to $66 million in increased costs on Arizonans. But rather than go through the proper lawmaking process on critical policy questions, AZDA bureaucrats usurped the legislature’s lawmaking authority, creating a brand-new policy that affects the entire state—all while acting without the proper checks and balances.

“The Arizona Constitution is clear: lawmaking is the job of Arizonans’ elected representatives, not unelected regulators,” said Goldwater Staff Attorney John Thorpe. “But bureaucrats are trying to go around the lawmaking process to impose a policy that only helps the government’s favored special interests while hurting everyone else.”

“The legislature cannot give regulatory agencies like the Arizona Department of Agriculture the power to make the law,” added Adi Dynar, an attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation. “Sweeping policies, like the cage-free egg rule, which substantially increase prices for businesses and consumers, must be made by the people’s representatives, not bureaucrats.”

The AZDA is part of the Administrative State, a vast web of regulatory agencies staffed by unelected bureaucrats. These agencies don’t just create rules with the force of law out of thin air—they effectively act as prosecutor, judge, and jury when prosecuting alleged violations. But the Goldwater Institute has a long, successful history of reining in the Administrative State. We’ve helped numerous Americans beat the bureaucratic bullies, and we’ve passed our landmark law to end state-court judicial deference—a legal doctrine that says courts must defer to government agencies’ interpretation of the law—in multiple states around the country.

Now, Goldwater and Pacific Legal Foundation are challenging the AZDA’s illegal mandate: to protect livelihoods and restore the rule of law for all Arizonans.

As Grant says: “If the government can do this with eggs, what else can they do it with?”

You can read more about this case here, and read our lawsuit here



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