The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled 7-1 to overturn a decision by U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer who placed a nationwide ban on glyphosate-resistant alfalfa seeds because of the possibility they would contaminate other plants.
The Washington-based Center for Food Safety brought the initial suit seeking the ban on planting the seeds. A San Francisco-based federal appeals court upheld Breyer's order banning the planting, which led to today's ruling by the Supreme Court.
"An injunction is a drastic and extraordinary remedy, which should not be granted as a matter of course," Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the majority. Justice John Paul Stevens was the lone dissenter, with Justice Stephen Breyer abstaining because his brother is the judge who issued the ban.
USDA can consider allowing limited planting of glyphosate-resistant alfalfa. Before being able to grant unlimited planting, USDA must finish an environmental impact statement. A draft of the statement that USDA released in December reported no significant effect from the seeds on the environment or human health.