The National Meat Association, of course, challenged the ban. Every downed cow that doesn't go into the food chain is lost profit.
California, in defense of its measure, is basically arguing that taking downed animals out of the food chain doesn't preempt federal law governing the slaughter of animals in any way because the state is simply removing certain animals from consideration as food animals.
The Justices did not seem to be buying that argument (although it is true that the tenor of any judge's questions is not necessarily indicative of how he or she is going to rule) according to a number of commentators, like The New York Times.
I'm not particularly surprised by the Court's pro-business tone.
Nor am I particularly surprised that there didn't seem to be much, if any, discussion about the value of recognizing at least some moral or ethical obligation to the most vulnerable and pathetic lives at the bottom of the food chain.
What I found most disappointing is that at least one member of the Court sees fit to trivialize death, none of the others took issue with him (at least publicly), and even the media isn't calling him out on it. As the NY Times reporter wrote:
Though much of the argument was a semantic tangle, there was at least one moment of clarity, when Justice Antonin Scalia reviewed the broader rules about which species may be slaughtered for food. “Lassie and Kitty are no good,” he said, “but Dobbin is all right.”Sad.