Supreme Court Raisin Decision Could Affect Market


Supreme Court Raisin Decision Could Affect Market

By Burt Carey


By an 8-1 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court this week found in favor of a family of California raisin farmers, ruling that the Fifth Amendment’s Taking Clause applies to personal property just as it does real estate.

California, Raisin Farmers, 5th Amendment, artificially inflated raisin prices, New Deal-era marketing scheme, manipulation, consumer costs, the Taking Clause, federal governmentAt issue were the actions of the Raisin Administrative Committee, an extension of the Department of Agriculture, which required raisin farmers to turn over a portion of their annual crop so that it could artificially inflate raisin prices. In 2003, the committee demanded that Marvin and Laura Horne surrender 47 percent of their raisin crop for the New Deal-era marketing scheme, and in 2004 another 30 percent, all with no compensation.

“The Government has a categorical duty to pay just compensation when it takes your car, just as when it takes your home,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in an opinion joined by of the justices except Sonia Sotomayor. While three of the court’s liberal justices concurred, they differed when it came to the question of how the Hornes should be compensated for their raisins, suggesting that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco should determine the amount. It was a 9th Circuit decision the Supreme Court overturned in Horne v. Dept. of Agriculture.

Horne refused to turn over his raisins in 2003 and 2004, and was fined $684,000 by the committee. Two years ago, the Obama administration argued that the Hornes should be forced to pay the fine before their case could be heard. The Supreme Court disagreed on the procedural issue, allowing the case to proceed.

The justices ruled that the Hornes are entitled to just compensation for any raisins the committee takes from them. The committee operates under a 1937 law designed to manipulate raisin market prices. Made up of DoA bureaucrats and raisin industry executives, the committee would annually set a marketing order quota that would artificially control the number of raisins released to the market, which in turn drove up consumer costs.

Some 20 other agricultural industries operate under similar marketing schemes, all based on efforts for the federal government to control supplies and pricing. The raisin market differs from others in that the Department of Agriculture actually took possession of the crop, using them for school lunch programs or overseas sales. What impact the ruling has on other agricultural price-support programs is unclear.

“We are not going to jeopardize the Agriculture Department’s marketing order regime,” Roberts added. “This is different,” Roberts said to Agriculture Department attorneys during earlier oral arguments in the Horne case. “You come up with the truck, and you get the shovels, and you take their raisins.”

Also not immediately known is what the ruling will do to raisin prices. The Horne decision did not invalidate the Raisin Administrative Committee or its operations but requires that future takings of personal property by the federal government must come with compensation.

The 9th Circuit Court initially had ruled in favor of the committee, saying that the Taking Clause only applied to real estate.

Legal scholars commenting on the Horne decision say a victory by the Department of Agriculture could have set a precedent in that the federal government could effectively take the personal property of any citizen without having to pay for it. But even an ideologically divided Supreme Court wouldn’t go that far. Roberts recounted that property ownership predates the 5th Amendment and was rooted in American law even before British troops began looting colonists’ homes in the name of King George III.


For movies opening October 28, 2016

  OPENING THIS WEEK Kam's Kapsules Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun by Kam Williams For movies opening October 28, 2016 BIG BUDGET FILMS Inferno (PG-13 for action, violence, profanity, disturbing images, mature themes and brief sensuality) Third installment of The Da Vinci Code franchise finds symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) suffering from amnesia and on the run with his physician (Felicity Jones) from a billionaire geneticist (Ben Foster) with a … [Read More its Good for You...]



PEEP AND EGG: I’M NOT TRICK-OR-TREATING...TWO SIBLING CHICKS, ONE GREAT HALLOWEEN DEBATE Peep can’t wait for Halloween to start, but the younger Egg has a long list of reasons to wish it would not. In a scene familiar to many families, the prospect of trick-or-treating conjures costumes and candy for some, while others are haunted by thoughts of vampires, mummies, witches and ghosts, real or imagined. Peep and Egg, two delightful sibling characters introduced this spring … [Read More its Good for You...]


ART EXHIBITION: 150 Years After The Civil War

  Cynthia Groya 150 Years After The Civil War: A Contemporary Perspective January 10 - March 6, 2016 Artist's Reception: Sunday, January 24, 3:00 - 5:00 pm Nassau Club 6 Mercer Street  Princeton, NJ 08540 The ideas reflected in Groya's paintings express a conversation about struggle for equal rights in our culture, in our time. The origin of this struggle can be traced to The Civil War in our country, which ended 150 years ago. The … [Read More its Good for You...]

Real Estate

Castles in America

  Castles in America by Amy Lignor   Robin Leach and his “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” taught us all long ago that we absolutely love to sit and view ridiculous luxury (usually owned by people who inherited all of it and didn’t work a day in their lives). See that? We had to complain about something as we were beguiled by the amount of money people would send to own or create the “best of the best.” Even though some things were referred to as the “gaudiest of … [Read More its Good for You...]


It’s Not Your “Grandma’s” Pumpkin Anymore

  It’s Not Your “Grandma’s” Pumpkin Anymore by Amy Lignor   As times move forward, technology expands. However, so does the imagination. No, I’m not talking about a new cell phone or animatronic device that creates pumpkins; I’m talking about some seriously cool ways to carve pumpkins that are popping up all over the internet. Unique, awesome, colorful – people across the U.S. have used their imaginations during the 21st century to create some of the most stunning … [Read More it Good for You...]


Finally, a Boat Shoe You Can Get Wet

  Finally, a boat shoe you can get wet   By Craig Lamb   I am happiest with wet feet. For me, that means wading a shallow saltwater flat, casting for tailing redfish. Or paddling aboard my sit-on-top kayak, cruising a river in search of smallmouth bass. Not my favorite, but when the fish are biting, fishing in the rain.   Yep, I do like getting my feet wet, but it can get downright annoying when my shoes stay wet. Footing is a challenge when shoes … [Read More its Good for You...]


Saying Goodbye to Legends…

    Saying Goodbye to Legends… by Amy Lignor   When someone you admire departs the Earth, it is extremely sad to come to terms with. In the days just passed, people and fans had to deal with the departure of two men from the world of sports. Although one perhaps was not a surprise, seeing as that the gentleman lived a good, long life, the other departure was shocking. One was a legend, while the other was on the road to becoming just that.    When … [Read More its Good for You...]


The Business of “Fear” Brings in $8 Billion a Year

  The Business of “Fear” Brings in $8 Billion a Year by Amy Lignor   There are aspects of Halloween everyone knows about. From the scary boogeyman to the haunted houses set up in cities and counties from sea to shining sea, the world certainly understands that the “frightening” is also the “entertaining” when it comes to All Hallows Eve. What most may not know, however, is the fact that Halloween is a billion (yes, BILLION) dollar industry. People are more than … [Read More its Good for You...]


I Double Dare You!

  I Double Dare You! by Amy Lignor   Haunted houses, zombie-filled corn fields, small towns that like to get together and light up the night with scary-faced pumpkins – there are all different types of Halloween events and haunts you can take the kids to and have a good time. And we’ve researched and reported on the best of them. But if you’re one of those…those who like the macabre…there are places around the globe that offer far more than just a “spooky” … [Read More its Good for You...]