Raisin farmers in SCOTUS case face $650K charge if they don’t give half their crop to the feds

posted at 9:46 pm on January 30, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham

47 percent of their crop, to be precise. It’s J.J. Abrams’ world. We’re all just living in it.

Luckily, the Supreme Court decided to take the case of the Horne family, so they may end up retaining the right to freely sell the raisin crop they’ve duly produced, but how is it that they must appeal to the highest court in the land for that right? Well, it all started in 1937, as so many good things do, when the federal government began requiring raising farmers to lay aside a tribute portion of their crops in order to control supply and price.

In this case, the USDA imposed on the Hornes a “marketing order” demanding that they turn over 47% of their crop without compensation. The order—a much-criticized New Deal relic—forces raisin “handlers” to reserve a certain percentage of their crop “for the account” of the government-backed Raisin Administrative Committee, enabling the government to control the supply and price of raisins on the market. The RAC then either sells the raisins or simply gives them away to noncompetitive markets—such as federal agencies, charities, and foreign governments—with the proceeds going toward the RAC’s administration costs.

It’s been rough going for the Hornes since they had the audacity to lay claim to their own crops:

Believing that they, as raisin “producers,” were exempt, the Hornes failed to set aside the requisite tribute during the 2002-2003 and 2003-2004 growing seasons. The USDA disagreed with the Hornes’ interpretation of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 and brought an enforcement action, seeking $438,843.53 (the approximate market value of the raisins that the Hornes allegedly owe), $202,600 in civil penalties, and $8,783.39 in unpaid assessments. After losing in that administrative review, the Hornes brought their case to federal court, arguing that the marketing order and associated fines violated the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause.

After litigating the matter in both district and appellate court, the government—for the first time—alleged that the Hornes’ takings claim would not be ripe for judicial review until after the Hornes terminated the present dispute, paid the money owed, and then filed a separate suit in the Court of Federal Claims.

The Hornes and others think the “marketing order” is a relic that solves a problem that doesn’t exist:

“These programs were created in a different era,” said Steffen Johnson, a lawyer who wrote a brief in support of some dissident raisin farmers, “and frankly, it was an era when farmers didn’t have access to international markets.”

On the other side of the argument are the federal government, and some other raisin growers. I’m guessing those who aren’t as good as the Hornes at growing raisins.

In a brief defending the department, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli wrote that the farmers “identify no reason why the imposition of a civil penalty and other assessments for noncompliance with a regulatory scheme constitutes a taking of property without just compensation.”

Many growers, moreover, support the marketing order as good for the raisin industry, which the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals noted last year “has long been an important one in California.”

Here to help. Oral arguments are March 20.

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Comment pages: 1 2

Do we know who these people are?….the ones on the RAC.
They should be eliminated, because……well, just because.
I think a meeting with the California Honey Badger Commission is in order.
III/0317

dirtengineer on January 30, 2013 at 11:37 PM

Thank heavens the GOP fixes all the bad laws the Demoncrats create once we vote them out, right?

angelat0763 on January 30, 2013 at 11:42 PM

After litigating the matter in both district and appellate court, the government—for the first time—alleged that the Hornes’ takings claim would not be ripe for judicial review until after the Hornes terminated the present dispute, paid the money owed, and then filed a separate suit in the Court of Federal Claims.

So …. you’re allowed to appeal the verdict to a judge, just as soon as you plead guilty and do your time?

tom on January 30, 2013 at 11:44 PM

Another reason why all laws from the feds need a 10th year max sunset, with renewal only as a standalone bill. Aside from repealing the 16th and 17th amendment this is cause for a new amendment with a clause that any Federal takings or taxations must be with a super majority in both houses and approval of 3/5ths of state Governors before it can be law. Governors are included because the taxes must be remitted to the states who in turn remit to the fed treasury, thus nullifying the irs

AH_C on January 30, 2013 at 11:52 PM

Solicitor General Donald Verrilli wrote that the farmers “identify no reason why the imposition of a civil penalty and other assessments for noncompliance with a regulatory scheme constitutes a taking of property without just compensation.”

Maybe it’s because when they are incompliance with the regulatory scheme is where you take their property and don’t compensate them.

Fining them is just your way enforcing you property grab.

Seems to me that by trying to narrow the focus to the fine and not the law that brought about the fine is evidence that the Government thinks it may lose this one.

Gwillie on January 30, 2013 at 11:56 PM

Dairy farmers, peanut farmers, really all farmers are having there crop prices manipulated by the USDA. Just listen to the local radio farm news to hear all about government projections on corn, soy beans, wheat and livestock just to grasp the idea of how pricing levels are being set by the Wizards of Washington – and I do not mean the NBA team.

herdgadfly on January 30, 2013 at 11:57 PM

The following post explains the feeling of about 3.5 million Americans who believe that the Constitution is the defining document of our collective government and society.

http://thelawdogfiles.blogspot.com/2013/01/a-repost.html

It fully explains why there WILL BE a second civil war between the collectivists and the freedom loving people of the Republic.

They believe that by calling us insurrectionists, they will use the might of the leviathan to squash any dissent to the Marxist doctrine and have the support of the People.

What they fail to understand is that we’ve been preparing for their overreach since Obama began his run for the Presidency. We read and listened to his words and examined his relationships with known enemies of the Constitution. We knew who he was then and know who he is now. He is the latest version of Mao, Stalin, Hitler….pick your poison…promising Utopia to the masses. They know they must disarm the People to effect complete control.

This “gun control” agenda is not about guns, but is about controlling PEOPLE….like Obamacare is not about healthcare, but about control.

Hang on, it’s going to be bumpy ride.

III/0317

dirtengineer on January 31, 2013 at 12:25 AM

It’s not a mandate it’s a tax. /S

If they think the USDA is bad just wait until they see how much Chief Just-Us Benedict Roberts plans to take them for a ruling. If they didn’t “remember” him for Christmas they’re in deep trouble.

viking01 on January 31, 2013 at 12:25 AM

Thank heavens the GOP fixes all the bad laws the Demoncrats create once we vote them out, right?

angelat0763 on January 30, 2013 at 11:42 PM

Yeah, and excessive taxes, and un-Constitutional laws.

A bit of dirty laundry that too many Conservatives choose to ignore.

To me it’s little more than the childish “yay, team!” mentality we have in this country. Our team can do no wrong…doesn’t matter the other team is playing exactly the same damn game.

Dr. ZhivBlago on January 31, 2013 at 12:30 AM

Call it a tax and Justice Roberts will kiss its butt no matter who it destroys. This is what we have come to: tyranny.

pat on January 31, 2013 at 12:46 AM

People have been suing the government since the New Deal for relief from these onerous laws.

Why are they still on the books??

PattyJ on January 31, 2013 at 1:09 AM

This is why there’s a 2nd Amendment.

Shy Guy on January 31, 2013 at 1:39 AM

All the God King requires is a small tribute, an offering of Earth and Water…and raisins

Bulletchaser on January 31, 2013 at 2:35 AM

In a brief defending the department, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli wrote that the farmers “identify no reason why the imposition of a civil penalty and other assessments for noncompliance with a regulatory scheme constitutes a taking of property without just compensation

Talk to your average homeschooled third grader. He/she’ll tell you why.

Cleombrotus on January 31, 2013 at 5:41 AM

Wickard v Filburn was among the very worst decisions ever handed down to us from on high. It has damaged our freedom more profoundly than just about any case you can name.

It was decided in the 1940′s and it doesn’t get the kind of attention of cases like Roe v Wade (yes a terrible decision, but nothing close to as destructive to our national character) but it was instrumental in opening the floodgates of government. Ever since it was decided our relationship with government ceased to be that which our founders envisioned.

MJBrutus on January 31, 2013 at 6:38 AM

Hello I am from the gov’t.

I am here to help you ;-D myself to your stuff.

Scrumpy on January 30, 2013 at 10:13 PM

And of course, don’t mind the guys with guns over there…they are there just to make sure we don’t have any trouble…

ProfShadow on January 31, 2013 at 6:47 AM

Raisins could become the “Dried Grapes of Wrath.”

No wonder Obama et al want our guns and have armed Homeland Security with civilian killer (hollowpoint) bullets and assault firearms.

So I’m guessing we’ll only get one scoop in a box of Raisin Brand(tm) now.

ProfShadow on January 31, 2013 at 6:50 AM

It should be noted as well that the entire concept of, “over production,” was a ruse to begin with. If this really was the terrible problem prior to the implementation of those, “pro farmer,” pieces of legislation, then why during the entirety of the Great Depression were prices for farm land actually increasing in relative value while other real estate prices were decreasing. The entire paying farmers not to farm business is still one of the great swindles of the last century, and it has cost American consumers a considerable amount of cash.

Flyovercountry on January 31, 2013 at 7:04 AM

This whole damn country is one big pyramid scheme and its coming to its peak… watch for it to crumble sooner than later….

Viper1 on January 31, 2013 at 7:25 AM

Repeal the Commerce Clause!!!

ExpressoBold on January 31, 2013 at 7:29 AM

See this is where the GOP could really start making noise.

Start with all these stupid government agencies. Tell people what they do, what they take from Americans and how much money we would save if they didn’t exist.

This kind of stuff people will listen to IMO.

gophergirl on January 30, 2013 at 10:14 PM

GoGirl for RNC Chair! Her comment, friends, has more practical sense in it than the last 10k postings by this Townhall mouthpiece.

Limerick on January 31, 2013 at 7:30 AM

Next thing you know, I won’t be able to grow wheat in my own backyard for my own consumption.

Oh. wait.

LoganSix on January 31, 2013 at 8:20 AM

In a brief defending the department, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli wrote that the farmers “identify no reason why the imposition of a civil penalty and other assessments for noncompliance with a regulatory scheme constitutes a taking of property without just compensation.”

Wow. Just wow.

smfic on January 31, 2013 at 8:23 AM

Oh please, these and other farmers loved these rules when prices were low and the government paid for their product at a set price. Now that arisen prices are higher they don’t want the govt buying their crop.

The issue isnt about the government taking it is about the government picking winners and losers and letting businesses fail if there is no demand.

Ricki on January 31, 2013 at 8:39 AM

People have been suing the government since the New Deal for relief from these onerous laws.

Why are they still on the books??

PattyJ on January 31, 2013 at 1:09 AM

Because the big agricultural interests profit from them. The big companies pay legislators to carve out special exceptions and exemptions for them. The smaller operators can’t afford to pay for their own lobbyists, so they get screwed and eventually go out of business, which means more market share and more profits for the bigger operators (and more graft and kickbacks for the politicians they own).

AZCoyote on January 31, 2013 at 9:26 AM

Repeal the Commerce Clause!!!

ExpressoBold on January 31, 2013 at 7:29 AM

.
There’s an idea.

listens2glenn on January 31, 2013 at 9:30 AM

Yes, the Commerce Clause is probably the most abused clause in the Constitution, besides the General Welfare clause. And Wickard v Filburn was the biggest nail in that coffin. Too bad we don’t have a SCOTUS more interested in the Constitution than in almighty precedent.

GWB on January 31, 2013 at 9:38 AM

Another National Board is “The Civilian Marksmanship Program”, which in part gets funding from a 1903 Federal Law to promote gun safety. The law also allows members to buy Military assault rifles from the government and ammunition. A major member is the National Rifle Association. To be fair with this I did learn gun safety in High School in part with funds from this group.

How many more of these boards are out there that the Bloggers can find? Just be honest, some of these are archaic but some of them are good.

jpcpt03 on January 31, 2013 at 9:39 AM

All the Feds deserve is boogers shaped like raisins: have at ‘em you stinking thieves!!

I hear they do stick to the ribs!

Sherman1864 on January 31, 2013 at 10:15 AM

“I can see the day coming when even your home garden is gonna be against the law.” – Bob Dylan, “Union Sundown” (1983)

J.S.K. on January 31, 2013 at 10:25 AM

It’s J.J. Abrams’ world. We’re all just living in it.

I know who J.J. Abrams is, but I’m not familiar enough with his work to understand what his “world” has to do with this story.

J.S.K. on January 31, 2013 at 10:26 AM

I hope the farmers win this one.

workingclass artist on January 31, 2013 at 10:53 AM

Call it a tax and Justice Roberts will kiss its butt no matter who it destroys. This is what we have come to: tyranny.

pat on January 31, 2013 at 12:46 AM

How do explain it other than, legalized tyranny with consent of the masses.

Don L on January 31, 2013 at 11:53 AM

I expect this family will pull the grape vines and plant Almonds. When we moved to the San Joaquin Valley 20 years ago everything in Fresno County was grapes for raisins and cheap wine,(grapes for better vintages and varieties grow best closer to the coast).
Over the past 10 years almonds have taken over. The central valley of California now grows 90% of the world’s Almonds.
The Horne’s probably have some almond trees but my guess is they leave the raisin biz.

FireBlogger on January 31, 2013 at 12:06 PM

“I can see the day coming when even your home garden is gonna be against the law.” – Bob Dylan, “Union Sundown” (1983)

Home gardens should be illegal. Why, growing one’s own food seriously puts a huge dent in the profitability of commercial farming and harms those working to make a living in agriculture.

C’mon people, lets show some sensitivity and concern for hard working farmers!

/sarc

hawkeye54 on January 31, 2013 at 12:27 PM

Another National Board is “The Civilian Marksmanship Program”, which in part gets funding from a 1903 Federal Law to promote gun safety. The law also allows members to buy Military assault rifles from the government and ammunition. A major member is the National Rifle Association. To be fair with this I did learn gun safety in High School in part with funds from this group.

How many more of these boards are out there that the Bloggers can find? Just be honest, some of these are archaic but some of them are good.

jpcpt03 on January 31, 2013 at 9:39 AM

Actually, that board can be justified under Article I Section 8 Clause 16… “To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia…”

But I can’t seem to find the authorization to SPEND money on Medicare, SS, and dozens of departments…

(Sure Congress can tax, but the Constitution also specifies what they are allowed to spend money on… they just ignore that little restriction!)

dominigan on January 31, 2013 at 12:29 PM

More revelations of the insidious expansion of the federal government into every aspect of our lives. How many of you are still repeating the propaganda mantra that this is “a free country”?

I understand if you are, but perhaps you may begin to ask yourself why you continue to repeat it. It was drilled into us from when we were all very young and it is a lie.

You have to admit the truth before you can begin to fight for it.

woodNfish on January 31, 2013 at 12:30 PM

hawkeye54 on January 31, 2013 at 12:27 PM

Sadly, that’s not far off from the argument the SCOTUS upheld in Wickard v Filburn.

GWB on January 31, 2013 at 12:43 PM

I can’t seem to find the authorization to SPEND money on Medicare, SS, and dozens of departments…

Nope, but over the years not enough voters appear to have objected to CONgress assuming powers and authority to which it is constitutionally vague or not entitled at all.

Too many voters actually approve of such, either ignorant of or uncaring of constitutionality.

hawkeye54 on January 31, 2013 at 12:45 PM

Beef Checkoff? Sounds like a russian name.

tommy71 on January 30, 2013 at 10:12 PM

Wasn’t he the weapons officer on Star Trek?

RAC…..just one more DA gov’t waste committee.

VikingGoneWild on January 31, 2013 at 12:52 PM

In a brief defending the department, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli wrote that the farmers “identify no reason why the imposition of a civil penalty and other assessments for noncompliance with a regulatory scheme constitutes a taking of property without just compensation.”

And everyone knows that a “regulatory scheme” couldn’t possibly be a taking of property without just compensation.

newpine on January 31, 2013 at 1:24 PM

In a brief defending the department, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli wrote that the farmers “identify no reason why the imposition of a civil penalty and other assessments for noncompliance with a regulatory scheme constitutes a taking of property without just compensation.”

So taking what the farmers produced without compensating them doesn’t constitute a taking of property without just compensation?
These people are nuts. And sometimes the gov. sells the crop? So the farmers can’t make money on it but the government can?

hopeful on January 31, 2013 at 1:29 PM

The Joker asks; “Ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?”. The farmers answer; “Yes, it keeps the retail prices up for the consumers.” This is what happens when some farmers chose to game the system that was put in for their benefit. Human nature is as human nature does.

mediamime on January 31, 2013 at 1:54 PM

insanity

dmart81 on January 31, 2013 at 2:30 PM

Perhaps now we can finally drive a stake through Farm-Price Supports, and re-introduce the American Family/Corporate Farmer to capitalism – without the Crony.

Another Drew on January 31, 2013 at 3:01 PM

I don’t have the patience to go through the whole thread – did someone mention that “racketeering” starts with the letters R-A-C?

More to the point, HOLY MOTHER OF GOD PLEASE TELL ME THIS CAME FROM THE ONION. THERE ISN’T A FONT SIZE BIG ENOUGH TO CONTAIN MY “WTF?”

Look, I’m not the most imaginative guy, I’ll admit. If I set out to write about a fictional, dystopian, Orwellian, Kafka-esque nation, I would never, ever, in a million years, come up with the “Raisin Administrative Committee.”

Xasprtr on January 31, 2013 at 3:18 PM

God only gets 10%. May be worth it to pay that much if the government could provide everlasting life. Problem is, they only take for your life everlasting.

BigAlSouth on January 31, 2013 at 6:48 PM

Raisin farmers in SCOTUS case face $650K charge if they don’t give half their crop to the feds

Apparently the Kleptocrats in Washington feel that slavery is appropriate for some people….

landlines on February 1, 2013 at 6:54 PM

AZCoyote on January 31, 2013 at 9:26 AM

Yup, crony agro-capitalism.

PattyJ on February 2, 2013 at 12:37 AM

Comment pages: 1 2