NYC (defendant_) Board of Health is authorized to adopt health codes with full force and effect of law. The Board proposed fluoridation of public water supply. On the other end, a number of taxpayers (plaintiffs) sued claiming that the Board don't have authority to fund expenses for water fluoridation, and also claimed that they were more efficient means of reducing tooth decay, and fluoridation only benefits children.
Regardless of the Court ruling in favor of the Board of Health, the code's provision was not valid. Fluoridation is a health problem, which falls within the jurisdiction of Board of Health. but adopting such a health code for fluoridation of water is unconstitutional. Most of the developed countries, do not consume fluoridated water. the arguments in support of above points are discussed below:
• Fluoride is a chemical added to water for the purpose of medical treatment. All other water treatments improve the water's quality and make it safe for consumption, except fluoride, which does not do so.
• Unethical practice - state cannot force people to take a medication without their consent. Even doctors cannot force their patients to take a medication or treatment without their consent. So, it is not only unlawful, but unethical as well.
• Side effects of overdose - people drink different amount of water, so the dose of fluoride each individual receives, cannot be controlled by the board of Health. Controlling the dose of a medicine is critical.
• Fluoridated water is consumed by people of all age, health and it may not be advisable for every individual to consume fluoridated water.
• Nowadays people get fluoride from other non-water sources. so, there's actually no need for people to consume fluoridated water.
• Fluoride is not an essential nutrient, so excess consumption of fluoride is of no good use, but there are health risks.
• Fluoride accumulates in the bone, as kidneys are not able to excrete all the fluoride
Hence, one can consider that the provisions adopted in the health code by the board are not only invalid, but unconstitutional and could be harmful for health, rather than helping the cause of public health.
FDA (Food and Drug Administration) passed a law which mandated the tobacco companies to picture one of the 12 labels proposed by the FDA and the health and human services (HHS) that covers 50 percent of the package label and 20 percent of all ads. The labels include messages which depict the negative and harmful effects of smoking. FDA published its final rules after collecting the comments of 1700 people.
The tobacco companies challenged the FDA that their first amendment rights were violated by the rules that forces them to speak in a way using government mandated materials.
According to the first amendment it is said that congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, promoting a specific religion, or reducing the freedom of speech and expression of an individual, freedom of expression and to petition against the government for a grievance and the implied rights of association and belief.
In the above case the FDA has claimed that the rule will discourage smokers to quit and non-smokers from initiating the interest and has a substantial government interest. However, the tobacco companies can challenge the FDA by stating that the rule violates their freedom of speech to content under first amendment rights. Also there is no clear evidence and studies did not support that the graphic warning message will have an impact on the people and led to a reduction in smokers. Thus, the rules fail to serve the FDA's substantial interest and FDA is using its force to compelled commercial speech.
The rules can be set aside as they are found to be violating the freedom of speech rights under first amendment.
The Federal Crop Insurance Corp (FCIC) (petitioner) is an insurance company owned by the government, and in-charge of providing insurance to farmers. The petitioner set regulations governing applications for insurance and published it in the Federal Register. This is a publication detailing all current agency rules and proposed rules.
M (the respondent) applied for insurance which was accepted. When M's farms crops were destroyed, he requested insurance but, was denied by the FCIC, as he had reseed his land. M was unaware of that he was not supposed to reseed his land and thus sued to recover.
Ignorance to regulation is not an excuse to get rid of it. FCIC has mentioned about the regulation in the federal register to which M was unknown. Thus, FCIC is not liable to make up the loss to M. M is also covered under the Federal Crop Insurance Act and thus he is bounded by all the laws and regulations of the Act.