Just hours before the ban was set to go into effect, Judge Milton Tingling on Monday issued a court order overturning the new regulations, calling them “arbitrary and capricious.” The ruling, if upheld, threatens to leave a visible blemish on the legacy of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is about to enter the home stretch of a historically eventful three-term reign in City Hall.
The soda ban would have outlawed nonalcoholic sugary drinks served in containers 16 ounces or larger. In a 36-page court order, posted in full by the Wall Street Journal, Judge Tingling wrote that the ban would be subject to uneven enforcement “even within a city block,” as it didn’t apply to convenience stores and supermarkets, which are regulated by the state. Among the exemptions would have been 7-11’s infamous Big Gulp.
Bloomberg, not surprisingly, has vowed to fight the court ruling, holding a news conference shortly after the decision and appearing Monday night on “The Late Show With David Letterman.”
“We'll appeal,” he said on the program. “In the meantime, this year 70,000 Americans will die from obesity, 5,000 here in New York. We've got to do something about it.”
In a poll released by Quinnipiac University last month, 51 percent of New Yorkers opposed the ban, while 46 percent supported it. On Twitter, though, opinions weren't so evenly divided, at least not among some comedians and media personalities who saw the ruling as an opportunity to crack wise.
Comedians Mike Birbiglia and Colin Quinn took the most obvious route.
Great news, everybody -- New Yorkers can continue drinking soda until they die.
— Mike Birbiglia (@birbigs) March 12, 2013
If we don't change the way we live, pretty soon you'll be getting droned for drinking a 32 oz soda out of assault rifles and with no Pope!!
— Colin Quinn (@iamcolinquinn) March 12, 2013
A few journalists joined in on the fun as well, including Slate magazine’s Matt Yglesias and Slashdot’s Nick Kolakowski.
When large sodas are banned, only people willing to buy two separate sodas will have lots of soda. #tyranny
— Matt Yglesias (@mattyglesias) March 11, 2013
Tempted to buy a 44-ounce soda this morning and drink it in front of City Hall. Let freedom ring.
— Nick Kolakowski (@nkolakowski) March 12, 2013
Brent Spiner, aka Lt. Commander Data of “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” was ostensibly pleased with the court ruling, seeing how androids are unable to express sarcasm.
Happy "Drink Your Weight in Soda Day!!!"
— Brent Spiner (@BrentSpiner) March 12, 2013
For every jokester who spouted off for or against the ban, it seemed as though there were just as many tweeters who felt New York City has much bigger problems than big soda. In the “Let’s reexamine our priorities” department, the actor Theo Rossi -- aka Juice on FX’s “Sons of Anarchy” -- perhaps said it best:
— Theo Rossi (@Theorossi) March 11, 2013