June 22, 2015

That case about raisins is "an important victory for property owners."

Ilya Somin says about today's new opinion in Horne v. Department of Agriculture.

Chief Justice Roberts writes the main opinion, joined by Justices Kennedy, Scalia, Thomas, and Alito and in part by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Kagan. (Only Justice Sotomayor dissents.) Excerpt from Roberts:
There is no dispute that the “classic taking [is one] in which the government directly appropriates private property for its own use.”...  Nor is there any dispute that, in the case of real property, such an appropriation is a per se taking that requires just compensation.... Nothing in the text or history of the Takings Clause, or our precedents, suggests that the rule is any different when it comes to appropriation of personal property. The Government has a categorical duty to pay just compensation when it takes your car, just as when it takes your home.
And just as when it takes your raisins.

ADDED: In case you're wondering if the Justices talked about the notorious Kelo decision. The answer is, one Justice did. Justice Thomas wrote:
The Takings Clause prohibits the government from taking private property except “for public use,” even when it offers “just compensation.” U. S. Const., Amdt. 5. That requirement, as originally understood, imposes a meaningful constraint on the power of the state—“the government may take property only if it actually uses or gives the public a legal right to use the property.” Kelo v. New London, 545 U. S. 469, 521 (2005) (Thomas, J., dissenting). It is far from clear that the Raisin Administrative Committee’s conduct meets that standard. It takes the raisins of citizens and, among other things, gives them away or sells them to exporters, foreign importers, and foreign governments. 7 CFR §989.67(b) (2015). To the extent that the Committee is not taking the raisins “for public use,” having the Court of Appeals calculate “just compensation” in this case would be a fruitless exercise.

41 comments:

Big Mike said...

Only Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented.

Latina, si. Wise, no.

Original Mike said...

I was appalled when, a few weeks ago, I heard the particulars of this case. The government takes a significant portion of a farmers crop by force and provides no compensation. Even if the government compensated the farmer it would still be appalling.

The actual, on the ground behavior of the U.S. government is so far afield of what I was taught in school (I.e. constrained by the Constitution), there are days I just despair.

Original Mike said...

"the Ninth Circuit held that the reserve requirement was not a Fifth Amendment taking."

Of course it did.

YoungHegelian said...

I'm sorry, but could someone possibly explain to me how any legal principle here was so obscure that it needed clarification from the SCOTUS?

The DofAg took a lot of raisins from those raisin farmers. How can the government just take anything from a business or individual engage in clearly legal activity without recompense? That the law of our land makes (made?) such a legal distinction between private property & real estate as property when it comes to government seizure I find deeply disturbing.

Well, so far I'm cool the SCOTUS majorities in both cases. But this one --- what took you so long?

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

To celebrate, I will be eating my nuts, saving my raisins for Sunday.

Fernandinande said...

All your raisin are belong to US.

Original Mike said...

"The Ninth Circuit held that, as in cases allowing the government to set conditions on land use and development, the Government imposed a condition (the reserve requirement) in exchange for a Government benefit (an orderly raisin market)."

Who, in this day and age, believes we are better off with the government manipulating markets to assure "order"?

MadisonMan said...

I don't think I can articulate how much I disagree with Sotomayor. (IANAL).

She really argues that just because the Govt threw a pittance at the owners that it wasn't a real Taking?

Sheesh.

gerry said...

He who controls raisins, controls Fresno.

traditionalguy said...

The New Deal was a bad deal.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I'm surprised they didn't just argue that it was actually a raisin tax. Then it would have been okay.

gerry said...

Can they pass a law that would force us all to buy raisins?

MadisonMan said...

From the end of the article, which means Best Wishes are in order!

NOTE: I will try to follow up with additional posts on this important takings case, when time permits. However, my wife and I are expecting the birth of our first child later today. So I may not be able to blog again until tomorrow, or later in the week.

B said...

The DofAg took a lot of raisins from those raisin farmers. How can the government just take anything from a business

They can take money. We call them taxes and fees.

Fernandinande said...

Original Mike said...
Who, in this day and age, believes we are better off with the government manipulating markets to assure "order"?


Unless you can point out some cases of disorderly raisins, it was working. Next they'll be ending the Elephant Repellent subsidies.

The Drill SGT said...

This ought to put the whole "asset forfeiture scam" in jeopardy.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

I used to think politicians who wanted to close this or that department as too extreme but really, the USDA admin law is rife with these stupid laws written to address fears and inequities during the depression. Some like the FCC rules go even farther back if you include the Railroad acts that have metastasized into telecom/web regulation after 130 years. That there is always someone willing to fight for these crap laws and regulations amazes me.

In the end we got about 100 tons of justice handed down on this case.

Louis said...

Waiting for Qaestor to question a use of the word appropriation with which he (she?) is not familiar.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

For Central Valley farmers (this is where 80% of grapes are grown and almost all domestic=c raisins) the situation was even more heinous than just "the taking" of raisins. Because first the Feds worked out a "plan" with environmentalists to NOT furnish 80-95% of the water, rights to which the farmers have owned for over a century, farmers were due. So even after dealing with a dishonest contract-abrogating Federal government, the farmers were forcibly relieved of up to 30% of their crop. So when eastern liberals ask "what's the matter with Kansas?" they obviously have no idea what drives distrust of the government and why a deep conservative streak dwells in these farmers. There's a very strong belief, one that I share, that every department, every branch, every office of this behemoth federal blob could stand some serious pruning back.

lemondog said...

The Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to promulgate “marketing orders” to help maintain stable markets for particular agricultural products. The marketing order for raisins established a Raisin Administrative Committee that imposes a reserve requirement—a requirement that growers set aside a certain percentage of their crop for the account of the Government, free of charge

This has never before been challenged?

California Raisins

This ought to put the whole "asset forfeiture scam" in jeopardy.

Amen!

Michael said...

The wise Latina votes con los pobres de la tierra because raisins come from grapes and Caesar Chavez....

Paco Wové said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rhhardin said...

It's not to check the power of the state, though it does, but to adhere to a libertarian principle that underlies western law.

Government actions should leave everybody no worse off (after accounting for in-kind benefits as well as money for a taking).

If everybody is no worse off, there's no force, and no force is the principle.

Otherwise people rebel and must be put down and it goes to tyranny.

Seeing Red said...

Can I pay my taxes in chickens? I'm watching Outlander. We are going backwards.

Roger Sweeny said...

"... would be a fruitless exercise."

a dried fruitless exercise

Fritz said...

gerry said...
Can they pass a law that would force us all to buy raisins?


Yes, but they would have to subsidize them for the poor.

n.n said...

Collateral exchange for governmental aid? Perhaps a tort-oise for special interests.

Scott said...

"To the extent that the Committee is not taking the raisins “for public use,” having the Court of Appeals calculate “just compensation” in this case would be a fruitless exercise." [emphasis added]

Lacking a raisin d'etre, surely.

Paco Wové said...

In other you-vs.-the-government news, DoJ's Gag Order On Reason Has Been Lifted — But The Real Story Is More Outrageous Than We Thought

traditionalguy said...

Raisins and cheddar cheese are a good pairing for snacking.

Matt Sablan said...

"How can the government just take anything from a business or individual engage in clearly legal activity without recompense?"

-- I think the state argued that the raisin farmer was compensated with higher raisin prices. So, this was more of a chance for the Court to say: "Uh, nope" to that pretty standard terrible reasoning from the government.

JohnG said...

I'll bet that all the employees of the Raisin Administrative Committee will continue to toil away at their meaningless jobs ad infinitum. No one will be laid off or fired even though it's just been figuratively put out of business. In fact, I suspect, it's budget will continue to grow each year.

Original Mike said...

"How can the government just take anything from a business or individual engage in clearly legal activity without recompense?"

Ultimately, guns.

Original Mike said...

@JohnG: I wouldn't take the other side of that bet.

Krumhorn said...

While I always love to read Scalia's opinions, I find that Justice Thomas and I must be sync'd up in the ether somehow. It's eerie.

- Krumhorn

Joe said...

Sotomayor's dissent defies all reason.

Beldar said...

Droll. Mr. Justice Thomas is very droll.

rhhardin said...

The Kraft extra sharp chedder isn't sharp enough for me, speaking of snacks.

Raisin snack boxes used to say "Had your iron today?" on the top.

They've taken iron out of multivitamins today as harmful.

Original Mike said...

"The Kraft extra sharp chedder isn't sharp enough for me, speaking of snacks."

How old is it? 6 months?

MikeR said...

If the program is unconstitutional, is there any reason that farmers shouldn't get compensation going back to the '40s? Huge class-action suit against the Dept of Agriculture. How much money is that, I wonder?

gerry said...

Sotomayor's dissent defies all reason.

And that's surprising, why?