Judge Rules Gov. Cuomo Exceeded Authority With Emergency Ban On E-Cigarettes

A New York State Supreme Court judge recently ruled in favor of a vaping industry group in their lawsuit against New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo.

This past September, Gov. Cuomo’s administration issued an emergency ban on flavored e-cigarettes in an attempt to address teen vaping and the increasing instances of vaping related illnesses. However, a judge ruled that Gov. Cuomo exceeded his authority by issuing the ban and that such an action should be passed by the legislature.

WGRZ 2 On Your Side aired a report on vaping and the decision from a New York State Supreme Court judge, who struck down Gov. Cuomo’s emergency ban on flavored e-cigarettes. Anchor Scott Levin interviewed attorney Barry Covert for legal analysis on the ruling. Continue reading this post for Barry Covert’s comments and click here for the story on WGRZ’s website. Also, click on the video below to watch the full report, which includes the interview with Barry Covert.

Did The Governor Exceed His Authority?

WGRZ anchor Scott Levin began his discussion with attorney Barry Covert by stating that it looks like the judge said that the Cuomo administration or the authorities here exceeded their boundaries. Barry Covert responded: “Absolutely. So we have separation of powers and the legislature is supposed to set policy and enact legislation. In this case there was no legislation passed for flavored e-cigarettes. So the Cuomo administration decided not just to propose legislation and let the legislature pass it. Instead, Cuomo said there was a quote “emergency” for flavored e-cigarettes and decided that he was going to put that in place.  The court really slapped that down very strongly and said repeatedly, yes, these things can be a problem. There are some harms associated with it and we don’t want minors to have access to it. But you have to enact legislation the right way. You can’t just jump the step of the legislature and do it yourself by fiat to the Governor.”

Should The Cuomo Administration Have Known Ban Was Overstepping Bounds?

Scott Levin continued by referencing the vaping industry. He stated that this is a billion dollar industry. They have a lot of lobbyists. Now you would think that the administration would know in advance that, hey, you’re overstepping your bounds. Barry Covert replied: “I think they clearly did know. They were hoping that they would survive in court and they may well appeal this and decided to try to go to the higher level court. But this was a very strong decision. It is surprising that the Cuomo administration didn’t first try to enact legislation. It really does not truly seem to be an emergency that had to be done on one particular day. They could have gone through the normal legislative process here.”

What’s Next for Flavored E-Cigarette Ban?

The interview concluded with a question regarding where the e-cigarette ban goes now. Barry Covert stated: “Well the judge recommended that they go to the legislature. Now the Cuomo administration can absolutely appeal this but it was a very strong ruling against the Cuomo administration and the judge cited very relevant case law in the past that would show that this was not going to pass muster. They can enact legislation but what the judge actually advised them is give some time for the new increase in age to 21 for nicotine products and see if that helps with the minors.”