SCOTUS Sides With Raisin Farmer – Deals Blow To USDA Crop Seizures Without Compensation…

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)



This entry was posted in A New America, Big Government, Dem Hypocrisy, Supreme Court. Bookmark the permalink.

55 Responses to SCOTUS Sides With Raisin Farmer – Deals Blow To USDA Crop Seizures Without Compensation…

  1. Alfred E. Neuman says:

    Reblogged this on The Lynler Report.


  2. Ziiggii says:

    What is the definitions of “real property” vs. “personal property”? Is it a “splitting of hairs” difference?


  3. My thought is, how does this square with Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S. 111 (1942)? In a post-Horne Supreme Court, would Roscoe Filburn have won, and kept the wheat he grew to feed his chickens, instead of having to have it burned by the government? Wickard was one of the most anti-freedom Supreme Court rulings of the Marshall court, and maybe since the Founding. It makes me wonder how the Horne decision affects all the other decisions who used Wickard as stare decisis.

    Liked by 2 people

    • 2x4x8 says:

      it might seem compensation is applicable, raisins had the Ok on prduction


    • Nation says:

      Wickard and Horne are two different cases. Wickard was a Commerce Clause case. The issue was whether the federal government had the constitutional authority to fine people for producing too much wheat. Horne, on the other hand, is a Takings Clause case. The issue in Horne was whether the government must compensate a private person when they physically take or seize that person’s stuff.

      There was no taking in Wickard. Among other things, for there to be a taking, the person must not be able to use, sell, give away, or destroy his stuff as he so desires.

      In a practical sense, a fine or penalty might force you to not exceed the government’s mandated quotas, because you don’t want to be taxed to death. However, since there is still a possibility that you will deliberately exceed the mandate and simply pay the fine, there is no taking according to the Supreme’s logic.

      Let’s look at the individual cases more closely.

      Horne involved a physical taking of private property. The government literally took Horne’s raisins from his possession without paying for them. Because Horne no longer had physical possession of his raisins, he could not use, sell, give away, or destroy his raisins as he so desired.

      Wickard involved a fine for producing too much wheat. However unlike Horne, Wickard could still use, sell, give away, or destroy his wheat as he so desired. He just had to pay the fine.

      So in my opinion, because there was no taking in Wickard, Horne does not weaken Wickard. Moreover, the current Supremes already made clear in Gonzales v. Raich that they are unwilling to overrule Wickard. So we are going to have to wait a few years for the current Supremes to retire before we get another shot at overruling Wickard.

      Liked by 2 people

      • 2x4x8 says:

        thank you, nicely done

        in Wickard, the Fed Gov had to acquire venue somehow

        Farming is not Commerce
        Mr Filburn has a God given right to work and the fruits thereof
        Mr Filburn claimed wheat for internal consumption
        Gov not establish a commerce occurred to tax
        Production on Private Property

        lower Court had to record some fact establishing Mr Filburn clouded his unalienable status as a state sovereign citizen by the Fed Gov whether by a Drivers License (commercial permission v right to travel) Social Security #, Marriage License etc, in order to regulate him

        farming was the way state sovereign citizens maintained common law, outside of commerce and legislative law

        Liked by 1 person

      • patrickhenryrevisited says:



        Liked by 1 person

      • “There was no taking in Wickard.”

        A concise statement that otherwise means “the government can do whatever it wants, Constitution be damned”. Which is what I thought they took Wickard to mean.

        Liked by 1 person

        • patrickhenryrevisited says:

          I don’t disagree with your original conclusion.
          I was applauding one of the answers to your comment.
          As to; “the government can do whatever it wants, Constitution be damned,” ……………….
          Without term limits at every level, the particular pattern of consistency you describe is inevitable.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Matt Musson says:

    “We hold these raisins to be self-evident..”

    Liked by 5 people

  5. bitterlyclinging says:

    The “Wise Latina” struck again. She agreed whole heartedly with New Havens Reverend Kimber that “The current crop of New Haven Firefighter applicants for promotion all had too many vowels in their last names to be considered for promotion”
    Any justice who so willfully, flagrantly and openly flaunted the words of the Constitution is a danger to the Republic and should be removed. So should the crop of good old boy Senators who sat on the Judiciary committee and approved her.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. fourpmfox says:

    Would someone please explain to me why the Feds are involved in this in the first place???
    Raisins??? Really!!!


    • smiley says:

      First they came for the raisins…..

      Liked by 6 people

    • Amity says:

      My grandpa was a farmer and I had always believed the “farmers are hard working and independent entrepreneurs” thing, so I was surprised to discover that farmers were among the first to convince the federal government to subsidize them and to take control of the markets by telling people what to grow, when. Industrialization and other factors were making family farms unprofitable and, instead of moving to the cities or otherwise finding a new job as theirs disappeared, farmers tried to use the government to stay in business. The depression sped up the process of government interference in farming (the feds were burning and exporting food while people stateside went hungry), but it was happening before.

      Those farmers’ descents who are still farming are paying for this folly by having to deal with all manner of government harassment.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Yes, and they complain constantly, too. Also, non subsidized farmers will stick up for subsidized farmers in a quid pro quo kind of scenario, plus “we stick up for our own.”
        Of course, the govt – USDA – strongly urges farmers to participate in all these programs, so farmers don’t deserve ALL the blame.


  7. Krazy Kat says:

    That dissenting opinion is kind of chilling!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. bertdilbert says:

    Will this ruling affect civil asset seizures?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. TheLastDemocrat says:

    I see this is an issue of the Takings Clause. I also believe the takings clause can be seen as relating to our inalienable rights, for the Declaration of Independence – specifically, the right to pursuit of happiness.

    I believe this covers a person’s right to pursue whatever commercial endeavor he or she wants (given the caveat that my rights end where your begin).

    It is classically recognized from the beginning of settled civilization that crops may do well one year, and poorly the next, and that a virus may wipe out a flock or herd in any season. This is life. Barter and sale are the bases of civilized economic life, which is where wealth comes from.

    The government has to really have a compelling case to interfere with this right. My list of compelling reasons might be more broad than a typical conservative, but this raisin issue is far from what sounds OK to me. It sounds too much like the Communist Five-Year Plans.

    Good luck with trying to predict and control the economy five years out. It is a natural force and, like a river or rain or gravity, cannot be controlled

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Rachelle says:

    Sotomayor dissents. Once again we see that the soi dissant ‘Wise Latina’ is rather stupid.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Although I disagree with Sotomayor’s opinion at a very basic level, I found her legal argument to be anything but “stupid”. In many ways she neatly assessed the convoluted thinking of the majority opinion, and clearly pointed out that their decision is not consistent with prior rulings, and would serve to “muddy the waters” by injecting considerable uncertainty into future cases. And, the arguments by all of the Justices, either in agreement or dissent are (as always) presented painfully contorted legalese that seems to completely abandon all types of practical logic or reason.

      For me, the fundamental objection lies not in the particular decision, one way or the other, but rather in the very concept of Regulatory Agencies that exist for the purpose of maintaining production and price controls in the first place.

      Sotomayor asserts that: …it (the majority opinion) does all of this in service of eliminating a type of reserve requirement that is applicable to just a few commodities in the entire country—and that, in any event, commodity producers could vote to terminate if they wished.

      I have to wonder about the accuracy of this claim (…producers could vote to terminate…) since Regulatory Agencies (once created) seem to become autonomous and (nearly) omnipotent entities that act with impunity, and with no regard for the citizens they supposedly serve. But I digress…

      More than anything else, my opinion is that (by requesting, and submitting to, regulations intended to support prices) farmers (in the general sense) have subverted the fundamental principals of the free-market model and have created an unsustainable system. And because of this the courts, (in particular this SCOTUS and all future Justices) are given an increasingly Herculean Task of trying to interpret (and re-interpret) the intentions of the Constitution in order to “make things right’. Unfortunately, they have been given a task that is fundamentally flawed from the get-go, since the Constitution was clearly written to foster a capitalist economy that relied on the natural forces of free markets.

      Perhaps the country could have avoided these convoluted, cognitively dissonant, and (often) contradictory SCOTUS rulings by simply heeding the warning that:

      ”He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither.”

      It certainly seems to apply in cases of economics just as much as it does to cases of personal liberty and security.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nation says:

        For me, the fundamental objection lies not in the particular decision, one way or the other, but rather in the very concept of Regulatory Agencies that exist for the purpose of maintaining production and price controls in the first place.

        Exactly! If agencies did not exist, Congress would have had to pass a law authorizing the President to take people’s stuff with out paying them for it (robbery if done by a private person). Instead, we have agencies creating new laws by reinterpreting New Deal legislation from the 30’s and 40’s.

        If the Supremes hadn’t rubber-stamped the modern regulatory agency regime, we wouldn’t be in this mess. Congress would actually have to make the rules rather than unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats.

        I wonder if these people would be able to graze their land if it was regulated by local, elected officials rather than unelected, federal bureaucrats:

        Liked by 2 people

        • IMO, the greater issue (for those ranchers) lies in the massive land-grab by the federal government in the newer, western states. Once the land was proclaimed to be “Property of the US Government” and (ultimately) fell under the control of the BLM, private land ownership was limited and the Feds now rely on the fallacious reasoning behind the “Tragedy of the Commons” to administer the remainder.

          As always, left to their own devices, free-market economic forces would ultimately control land use (in this case, grazing) and the ranchers would self regulate. Yes, there would be examples of “misuse, abuse and/or gluttony”, but the end result would be a point of equilibrium where successful ranchers would be the ones who acted prudently and, as such, made profits that enable them to expand. Others who are incompetent or imprudent would be “culled out” by economic failure.

          Just for fun, take a look at this pdf that shows the vast amounts of land (that was purchased with taxpayer dollars) that is controlled by various federal agencies:

          Note that over 81% of the total area of NV is considered “public land” (and over 89% of AK!) and is shuffled between various agencies, some of which are federal, and some of which are state.

          Now, along the lines of “prudent financial decisions” I have to wonder about the wisdom to purchase, own and/or operate a ranching operation (or any other type of business) that is reliant on the use of “public” land (regulated by a very fickle and untrustworthy government) for financial success. Perhaps, again, these ranchers should have heeded that same advice about sacrificing freedom for security.


          • Nation says:

            I’m so glad you brought up the federal land grab, because it is a huge issue.

            For those who do not know, whether the land is federal property is important because Article IV, Section 3, Clause 2 of the Constitution states “Congress shall have power to…make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States.” If it is federal property, Congress or the regulatory agencies can do as they please with it.

            With that in mind, check out how much land the federal government owns:


            As letjusticeprevail noted, the feds practically own all of Nevada. Cliven Bundy actually sued the BLM and the feds on the grounds that the Nevada land grab was unconstitutional because it deprived him of a republican form of government. Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution states “the US shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government.” According to Bundy, since the feds practically owned all of Nevada, he did not have a republican government since he could not vote the BLM regulators out. Bundy lost in court. But that is why you saw him in interviews saying that he believed the sheriff and county had authority to regulate him (the local government being elected and accountable to the voters), and he would do as they say so long as they are not taking orders from the feds.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Most of the land you reference was taken (by treaty- ha, ha) for the benefit of future settlers. Some was given to railroads that were being encouraged to expand to the West Coast so as to attract said settlers. The rest of the land was to be sold and proceeds were to go to be split among US, state and local (county and city) govt entities. At some point, the fed govt decided it was better to keep the “public’s” land and just rent it, often at below-market prices to ag producers, mainly cattlemen.

            The history of the West Coast is a little understood part of our past, since most historians record only political and military actions, rather than economic actions. At any rate, most economic actions are relatively recent compared to our 400+ year old history.


      • It’s true – commodity commissions exist at the pleasure of the member-farmer producers.


  11. Father Paul Lemmen says:

    Reblogged this on A Conservative Christian Man.


  12. The market should decide market prices and demand. Not getting enough for what you are growing.. grow something else. These laws to protect volatile markets were all created in a time where communication was nothing like it is today.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. TwoLaine says:

    My question is for those who have legal experience. As many of us have come to learn from the Bundy and Hage families, and the recent Bundy Ranch Standoff, that for years the DOI/BLM have been mandating and regulating ranchers out of business. Taking and taking more ad more land and not giving just compensation to those who own it, the states. We saw last year how horrific these agencies are, and what takers these agencies and their people are.

    Does this ruling give them any chance to take back their lands?

    A Republic If You Can Keep It – What happened to AB408

    On the single dissenter, I am not at all surprised, considering all the “taking’ that has been going on from those being allowed to illegally cross our Southern border.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Josh says:

    Laura & Marvin Horne’s Story

    Liked by 2 people

    • Josh says:

      “They [Laura & Marvin Horne] are American heros.” ~ Michael W. McConnel, Attorney and Professor of Law at Stanford University

      Liked by 2 people

      • TwoLaine says:

        I so totally agree. Tonight we will raise a glass to toast the Horne’s, and every other farmer, and rancher who has been oppressed/repressed by our gubt.

        This is pure and simple “taxation without representation”.


  15. TwoLaine says:

    It might still surprise some to know that the Federal Government has laid claim to 56,754,343 acres in Nevada alone. Nevada, in total, is 70,798,080 acres.

    For this theft, in the year of 2014, they paid Nevada on $25,439,484 in what they deem “Payments in Lieu of Taxes”. Never having learned Common Core Math, i my head I calculate that to be about $2 per acre. You do the math. No explanations required.

    I will let them explain their own federal land theft operation and payment program:

    IF you want to see what the theft of land in your state or county looks like, and what you are getting per acre every year, instead of taxes, here’s the link for you:


    • maggiemoowho says:

      Obama is collectiong land for his Nation of Islam buddies. He has given in to all their demands so far, land will be next, Its number 4 on their list of delusional demands.

      We want our people in America whose parents or grandparents were descendants from slaves, to be allowed to establish a separate state or territory of their own–either on this continent or elsewhere. We believe that our former slave masters are obligated to provide such land and that the area must be fertile and minerally rich. We believe that our former slave masters are obligated to maintain and supply our needs in this separate territory for the next 20 to 25 years–until we are able to produce and supply our own needs.


  16. maggiemoowho says:

    Does the collection of the farmers raisens have to due with climate change? Seriously, isn’t there something(a bogus something) about certain gases being released into the air. Why should a farmer have to give up anything he grows to anybody.


    • JohnP says:

      No, the National Raisin Reserve was established in 1949.

      The reserve was founded in 1949 as a means to prevent the crash of raisin prices in post-World War II America. Because there was less demand from the federal government for raisins, there was suddenly a glut of raisins on the market. As a result, prices began to go down. In 1949, Marketing Order 989 was passed which created the reserve and the Raisin Administrative Committee, which is responsible for running the reserve.[1]

      American raisins, once seized, are sent to various warehouses across California, where they are stored until they are sold off to foreign nations, fed to cattle or schoolchildren, or disposed of in any other way to get them off the market that year.[1]

      The Raisin Administrative Committee is based in Fresno, California and is overseen by the United States Department of Agriculture. Committee members are made up of industry representatives, who then decide what to do with the stockpiled supply. The profits from the raisins, often seized for no payment, are then used to pay the expenses of the committee or pay back farmers for their seized produce. In one recent year, $65,483,211 was made, although it was all spent, with none left over for farmers, according to the review of one recent year.[1]

      “It’s a cartel. Let’s use the power of the government to operate a cartel,” said Daniel Sumner, director of the University of California’s Agricultural Issues Center. Congress had given the USDA the authority to operate reserves during the New Deal: Other reserves existed for almonds, walnuts, tart cherries and other products.[1]

      The court case in question involved the seizing of 47% of this farmer’s crop. The fine for not handing it over was $700,000.

      Liked by 2 people

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