The case was Horne v. U.S. Dept of Agriculture (full embed pdf below). Essentially a raisin farmer was fined (and the price of his crop similarly assessed) for not forfeiting their harvest to the USDA in a program where the government regulates supply and demand through production controls.
SCOTUS ruled 8-1 (Sotomayor dissent) the U.S. government cannot “take”, or force destroyed, farming crops without compensation to the farmer under the fifth amendment “takings” clause.
The most consequential aspect of the ruling stems from 8 justices affirming that “personal property” is afforded the same constitutional protection as “real property. Specifically, in this case, if crops “taken” (or rendered removed from the market) for the public good, there must be compensation for the owner/farmer.
(Via The Hill) […] Under the Agriculture Department program, producers are required to relinquish a portion of their crops to ensure stable market decisions, but the percentage varies year to year based on how many raisins are produced.
Because the federal government sells the raisins, typically in noncompetitive markets, the producers receive a pro-rated share of the proceeds after administrative costs have been taken out. In some years, this “equitable distribution” is significant, but in other years it’s nothing.
The Justices ruled in favor of the Hornes, who argued that USDA took their raisins for public use and violated the “takings clause” of the Fifth Amendment.
“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 said in the opinion of the court. “This principal, dating back as far as the Magna Carta, was codified in the Takings Clause in part because of property appropriations by both sides during the Revolutionary War.”
Roberts said nothing in history suggests personal property is subject to any less protection than real property.
The court also ruled that the taking in this case cannot be characterized as part of a voluntary exchange for a valuable government benefit.
“We hold that the Hornes cannot be fined for resisting the government’s attempts to take their raisins,” Roberts said. (more)