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New York’s Highest Court Limits the Scope of the Case that…

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In a recent decision from New York’s top court, one of the most powerful tools used to fight state regulations, known as the Boreali ruling, which has been in place for nearly 40 years, has been weakened. The ruling overturns a 1986 state regulation that banned smoking in many public places, and has been used to challenge numerous government actions and regulations that extended beyond public health.

The recent court ruling, led by the new chief judge, Rowan Wilson, narrowed the scope of the Boreali ruling by changing the logic upon which it was based. The new ruling may make it difficult to use Boreali against regulations that aren’t based on similar wide-ranging grants of authority, which are rare in New York law. This decision has potentially significant implications for future challenges to New York government actions and regulations.

Some observers see Wilson’s ruling as a counterweight to the conservative supermajority on the U.S. Supreme Court, as Governor Kathy Hochul has stated. The U.S. Supreme Court has used a novel legal theory known as the “major questions doctrine” to limit federal agencies’ abilities to make regulations, and critics charge that the doctrine gives the Supreme Court a veto over any regulation it doesn’t like. Wilson’s decision could restore power to New York regulators, despite the Supreme Court’s distrust of government agencies.

It remains to be seen how the decision will impact future legal challenges in New York, as there may still be lingering questions about the actual meaning and implications of the ruling. While this recent decision represents a significant shift in the interpretation of state regulations, its overall implications are yet to be fully understood.

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