By Julie Harker, Brownfield Ag News

Missouri’s Attorney General says he expects oral arguments soon in the appeal of his case against a California law that requires a larger cage for hens laying eggs. Chris Koster, who is the Democrat running for governor of Missouri, says it could then be three to four months for a decision by the court.

Attorney General Chris Koster

Attorney General Chris Koster

“Ultimately, I think this issue as to whether or not the California legislature has the ability to regulate agriculture nationally is going to have to be litigated and I believe, ultimately, we are going to win,” says Koster.

Koster sued the state of California, saying it could not mandate the production practices of other states that wish to sell eggs in that state.

He argues that the federal Commerce Clause does not give California the power to mandate production practices nationally; in this case – that eggs sold in that state be from, essentially, hens laying eggs in larger cages.

“If Justice (Antonin) Scalia had lived, I think the votes would have been there to support a conservative Commerce Clause interpretation of these regulations,” says Koster. “So, we’ll see how things go forward in the future but, ultimately, I believe that the agriculture community is going to be protected by the courts of this country.”

Koster says whether they win the egg case or a case related to hogs or cattle, the California legislature is going to overstep its bounds and he does not believe the U.S. Supreme Court is going to back California.

The animal rights group, Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) supported California’s Proposition B.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Eric Greitens, declined an invitation to be interviewed about agriculture issues.