Opinion: Columnists

Gregory Kane: Court can't humble New York's nanny mayor

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Photo - NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 12:  New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg holds a large cup as he speaks to the media about the health impacts of sugar at Lucky's restaurant, which voluntarily adopted the large sugary drink ban, March 12, 2013 in New York City. A state judge on Monday blocked Bloomberg's ban on oversized sugary drinks but the Mayor plans to appeal the decision.  (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 12: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg holds a large cup as he speaks to the media about the health impacts of sugar at Lucky's restaurant, which voluntarily adopted the large sugary drink ban, March 12, 2013 in New York City. A state judge on Monday blocked Bloomberg's ban on oversized sugary drinks but the Mayor plans to appeal the decision. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

Nothing could be finer than seeing an enemy of liberty taken down several notches.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the nation's No. 1 enemy of liberty, was recently taken down at least a couple hundred notches. And we have New York Supreme Court Justice Milton A. Tingling Jr. to thank for it.

For those not familiar with how Bloomberg got to be America's No. 1 enemy of liberty, he's the guy who proposed banning 64-ounce sugary soft drinks in New York. (He's also an enemy of liberty for his sneering disrespect for, and disregard of, the Fourth Amendment. But that's a topic for another column, if not a book.)

In Bloombergland, sugary soft drinks can only be sold in 16-ounce containers at restaurants, theaters and food carts.

Some businesses were exempt from the rule, an issue Tingling addressed in his stinging ruling striking down the law. Tingling called the exceptions "arbitrary and capricious." The ban applied to restaurants and delis, Tingling noted, but not to convenience stores and bodegas. In trying to explain this to Mr. Enemy of Liberty in person, Tingling could have told Bloomberg something like, "You see, Mr. Mayor, sugary soft drinks are sugary soft drinks, whether they're sold in restaurants, delis, convenience stores or bodegas."

Tingling also noted that it's the New York City Council that has the power to approve a rule as broad as the one approved by the city's Board of Health, which he said might turn into "an administrative Leviathan" if allowed to get away with creating such a muddle-headed law.

The exceptions, Tingling wrote, would make for uneven enforcement of the law, "even within a particular city or block, much less the city as a whole."

Mr. Enemy of Liberty reacted in pretty much the way we'd expect an enemy of liberty to react -- with the petulance and intransigence we've all come to loathe in Michael Bloomberg.

"We believe the judge's decision was clearly in error," Bloomberg told reporters. In his previous sentence, Bloomberg even lowered himself -- easy to do when you're an enemy of liberty -- to the cheap and tawdry tactic of playing the little kiddie card.

"I've got to defend my children, and yours, to do what's right to save lives," Bloomberg said. "Obesity kills. There's no question it kills."

Everybody got that? Sir Michael the Good Knight of Bloomberg and Enemy of Obesity is donning his armor and marching on to defend your kids from death by obesity.

I don't know what it is with this guy, but I suspect he just doesn't like fat people. I suspect that, when he was a kid, some fat kid chumped him for his lunch money and then sat on him. So, to save our kids, Bloomberg has no problem with implementing Draconian, stupid, unfair and ultimately unenforceable laws. Let me know when you or your kids start feeling safer.

At one point Sir Michael must have been really feeling his Cheerios -- the low-sugar kind, I assume. Before Tingling's ruling, Bloomberg had said his soda ban should go global.

According to the New York Times, New Yorkers don't share his view. Some 60 percent disapprove of the ban. And the anti-ban sentiment has reached way down into Mississippi, where the Legislature approved a law that would prevent local and county governments from putting the kibosh on 64-ounce sugary soft drinks.

Bloomberg called that law a "farce." His critics might counter by saying, "Look who's talking."

Examiner Columnist Gregory Kane is a Pulitzer-nominated news and opinion journalist who has covered people and politics from Baltimore to the Sudan.

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Gregory Kane

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The Washington Examiner