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Supreme Court Rules Against Government Raisin Seizure

By    |   Monday, 22 Jun 2015 04:41 PM

The Supreme Court issued a ruling Monday that a federal program that seizes portions of raisin-producers' crops is unconstitutional. 

In an 8-1 ruling, the court sided with California farmers Marvin and Laura Horne, who have refused to participate in the program since 2002.

The program was instituted in 1949 to help stabilize raisin prices. The excess raisins were taken by U.S. Department of Agriculture and used in school lunch programs or sold overseas at drastically reduced prices.

"In one of the years at issue here, the Government insisted that the Hornes turn over 47 percent of their raisin crop, in exchange for the 'benefit' of being allowed to sell the remaining 53 percent," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority.

Roberts was joined in full by Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, and in part by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan. Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the lone dissenter.

"The reserve requirement imposed by the Raisin Committee is a clear physical taking," Roberts wrote. "Actual raisins are transferred from the growers to the government. Title to the raisins passes to the Raisin Committee. The Committee disposes of those raisins as it wishes, to promote the purposes of the raisin marketing order."

The ruling does not apply to other crops in similar USDA programs, the justices noted.

The Hornes had faced a fine of $695,000 for noncompliance with the program, and will not be forced to pay as a result of the ruling.

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The Supreme Court issued a ruling Monday that a federal program that seizes portions of raisin-producers' crops is unconstitutional.
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2015-41-22
Monday, 22 Jun 2015 04:41 PM
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