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State’s Attempt To Dismiss Part Of Butter Lawsuit Fails

Ozaukee County Judge Allows Case To Continue Without Being Sliced

Slice of Chic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

A judge has refused to throw out part of a lawsuit challenging a state law on butter sales.

A Grafton food store and four Wisconsin consumers sued the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection in March.

They’re taking aim at a law making it illegal to sell at retail any butter not marked with a Wisconsin grade or its federal equivalent, including Kerrygold Irish butter.

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DATCP asked an Ozaukee County judge to dismiss most of the case. But on Tuesday, the state’s motion was denied.

Attorney and conservative activist Rick Esenberg is representing the plaintiffs. He’s pleased the case is going ahead.

“It is necessary for courts to not simply accept what the government says, but to probe beneath that claim, to look at the facts,” Esenberg said outside the courtroom.

DATCP argues the law provides consumers with information about the product, and that there’s a legitimate basis for the grading requirement.

Esenberg disagreed.

“We don’t think it’s necessary for the state of Wisconsin to have a government-mandated taste test, which is sort of conducted by people, whose qualifications are uncertain. I don’t think these people have educated palates,” he said.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice is representing DATCP in court.

Attorney General Brad Schimel’s office issued a statement stating, “The Attorney General has said time and again that it is not the AG’s job to decide what laws to defend and that he will not pick winners and losers. The Attorney General will defend Wisconsin laws against challenges and we plan to represent the State of Wisconsin as this lawsuit proceeds.”