Public health and safety

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Public health and safety is a rationale used by government to enact certain laws. Sometimes "public health and safety" is advanced as a pretext instead of a real reason, such as advancing special interests urged by lobbyists.

For example, in Granholm v. Heald, state governments argued that "public health and safety" was justification for restrictions on shipments by out-of-state wineries into their states. The Court rejected that rationale, noting that:

Michigan and New York offer a handful of other rationales, such as facilitating orderly market conditions, protecting public health and safety, and ensuring regulatory accountability. These objectives can also be achieved through the alternative of an evenhanded licensing requirement. FTC Report 40-41. Finally, it should be noted that improvements in technology have eased the burden of monitoring out-of-state wineries. Background checks can be done electronically. Financial records and sales data can be mailed, faxed, or submitted via e-mail.
In summary, the States provide little concrete evidence for the sweeping assertion that they cannot police direct shipments by out-of-state wineries. Our Commerce Clause cases demand more than mere speculation to support discrimination against out-of-state goods. The "burden is on the State to show that 'the discrimination is demonstrably justified,'" Chemical Waste Management, Inc. v. Hunt, 504 U.S. 334, 344, 119 L. Ed. 2d 121, 112 S. Ct. 2009 (1992) (emphasis in original). The Court has upheld state regulations that discriminate against interstate commerce only after finding, based on concrete record evidence, that a State's nondiscriminatory alternatives will prove unworkable. See, e.g., Maine v. Taylor, 477 U.S. 131, 141-144, 91 L. Ed. 2d 110, 106 S. Ct. 2440 (1986). Michigan and New York have not satisfied this exacting standard.
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