A New York state appeals court has upheld a decision blocking Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed ban on large sugary drinks, arguing that the "selective restrictions" were an overreach of the power of a local health board appointed by the mayor.
A unanimous decision by a four-judge panel of the state Supreme Court's Appellate Division found that the ban "violated the state principle of separation of powers."
In particular, the court focused on the law's many loopholes, which exempted businesses not under the auspices of the city's health department. As a result, grocery and convenience stores - such as 7 Eleven and its 64-ounce Big Gulp - were protected from the ban's reach.
"The selective restrictions enacted by the Board of Health reveal that the health of the residents of New York City was not its sole concern," Justice Dianne Renwick wrote for the court. "If it were, the 'Soda Ban' would apply to all public and private enterprises in New York City."
The law had previously been struck down by a judge for the State Supreme Court, who called it "arbitrary and capricious."
Mayor Bloomberg said in a statement that the ruling is "a temporary setback, and we plan to appeal this decision as we continue the fight against the obesity epidemic."