Can the statute survive a constitutional challenge?
The Equal Protection Clause gives every person or organization the right to equal protection from states. In this case, the clause requires that the State of Minnesota to ensure that all stakeholders in the business and private sector get fair treatment. In the process of carrying out its mandate, which is vested in it by the people of Minnesota, the Minnesota Legislature found it necessary to enact the said statute. Considering that the statute is in the public’s interest and that all milk manufacturers have to abide by it, it can survive a constitutional challenge.
Is there a “rational basis” for the statute?
Yes, there is a rational basis for the statute. The legislature’s argument that plastic packages take up more space is valid. It can be argued that jugs occupy less space and required less energy to produce, but this is only true in the short term. Plastic jugs are nonbiodegradable; hence, they accumulate in the long term. Their nonbiodegradable nature also means that they require the state to invest in complex and expensive waste management systems. This is unlike biodegradable packages that can not only be recycled, but also integrated into the ecosystem without harming the environment.
What effect does the evidence to the contrary have on the statute’s constitutionality?
The evidence to the contrary does not affect the constitutionality of the statute because it does not negate the purpose of the statute; it only challenges the reasons fronted by the legislature. The statute is in the interest of the public considering that it is aimed towards environmental conservation. Therefore, the legislature’s actions are constitutional as they fall within their jurisdiction. Nevertheless, the statute should extend to all consumer products to eliminate the notion that it discriminates on milk producers.