Tags: Supreme Court | Supreme-Court | FDA | Raisins | subsidy

Supreme Court Turns Back FDA's Rules of Raisins

Friday, 26 June 2015 01:47 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Evidently the philosophy of the Roberts’ Supreme Court is follow the Constitution when convenient, but if a decision strikes at the heart of the Big Government welfare state or would cause invitations from the Georgetown cocktail circuit to dry up, then the Constitution takes a backseat to the alliance of intellectuals and government dependents that rules our nation.

Fortunately for Marvin Horne, his case didn’t involve one of Obama’s signature initiatives like Obamacare. He was fighting a policy from our first socialist president: FDR’s Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 that fixed prices for farm products.

It’s only natural the law is still administered by the singularly useless and wasteful United States Department of Agriculture, a fount of incompetence I’ve written about here, here, and here.

Here’s how the law works. You’re a busy baking beaver in your new free-range cupcake store “One in the Hand Is Worth Two Jeb Bushes.” Sure there’s plenty of competition and the pricing battles are fierce, but you’re hoping Bernie Sanders might drop in for a campaign photo-op and give your business that edgy stick-it-to-the-man aura that so impresses interns and Occupy refugees.

Only there’s a USDA drone on your doorstep demanding to seize two months' worth of production, because you work too hard and your productivity is lowering the price that less productive bakers can demand for their Srira-cha-cha chocolate cupcakes.

But wait you say! The Koch brothers might do something dastardly like this, but never government. Government is something benevolent we all do together like helping Iran become a nuclear power or Cuba discover fuel injection.

Stealing cupcakes can’t be part of the package!

Now you can identify with Marvin. In 2002 a fleet of government trucks appeared outside his farm to confiscate $500,000 worth of raisins the government wanted to keep off the market to maintain high consumer prices.

Call it crony capitalism for the sun-dried set. Decades of raisins were put in National Raisin Reserve warehouses where the federal government’s demon negotiators sold raisins for distribution in Michelle’s school lunches; assignment to fermentation vats for booze production or shipped overseas to be used in airstrikes against ISIS. The remaining raisins would rot.

Money raised from the sale of confiscated raisins was spent on international junkets, marketing conferences, and the general health and well-being of members of the Raisin Administrative Committee that controls confiscation. If there was any money left over, it would go back to the original growers, presumably in the form of a gift card to Dunkin’ Donuts.

Gary Schulz, the committee’s president, told The Washington Post last year, “We generated $65,483,211. And we pretty well spent it all.”

Marvin — who evidently believed the plain language of the Constitution — blocked the entrance to his farm and told the confiscation functionaries they’d have to pry the raisins out of his cold, dead Grape Nuts. He was lucky John Ashcroft was AG rather than Janet ‘Burn ’em Down’ Reno.

During the subsequent years his fines for refusing to agree to unconstitutional government theft continued to accrue and, according to the Post, he owed a minimum of $650,000 in fines and four years of his annual raisin harvest.

This month the Supreme Court ruled in an 8-1 decision for Marvin. For him, for now, the 5th Amendment that says private property may not be taken without just compensation is still in effect.

The amazing thing is it took 13 years to arrive at an obvious conclusion. The scary thing is what passes for reasoning in the federal judiciary. One U.S. District Court judge ruled, “The government does not force plaintiffs to grow raisins.” “If they grow and market raisins, then [contributing to the reserve] . . . is the admissions ticket.” Without bothering to explain where it says the government has the authority to require an “admissions (sic) ticket” in the first place.

The Obama administration liked that argument so much it used it in the supreme case, declaring “growers who didn't like those terms were free to grow something else because there was no constitutional right to grow and sell one's own raisins.”

That specious bit of constitutional malpractice was good enough for the only dissenting supreme, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, our latest quota court appointment. Sotomayor believes a little Big Government infringement on our rights passes constitutional muster. If the raisin committee doesn’t manage to waste all the money obtained from selling Marvin’s crop and he eventually gets a few pennies, he has his rights, only at a discount.

The Big Government view is always why couldn’t Marvin have been a good little German and not rock the boat? It’s not like Uncle Sam wanted to quarter troops in his house.

Michael R. Shannon is a commentator, researcher (for the League of American Voters), and an award-winning political and advertising consultant with nationwide and international experience. He is author of "Conservative Christian’s Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now with added humor!)." Read more of Michael Shannon's reports — Go Here Now.

© Copyright 2015 Michael Shannon.


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Fortunately for Marvin Horne, his case didn’t involve one of Obama’s signature initiatives like Obamacare. He was fighting a policy from our first socialist president: FDR’s Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 that fixed prices for farm products.
Supreme-Court, FDA, Raisins, subsidy
Friday, 26 June 2015 01:47 PM
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