Yesterday the US Supreme Court released its opinion in the case of Horne, et al. v. Department of Agriculture holding that the US government could not take the property of someone and then avoid declaring the seized property as a taking because the government gave economic interest to the original owners of the property.
This is a huge win for property rights of citizens.
In 1949, the US Government set up a program to control the markets of certain agricultural products such as nuts and raisins. The program established the “Raisin Administrative Committee” which would take 30% to 47% of raisins from growers under the guise of stabilizing the market price. The government would then use the raisin they took for various governmental programs. If there were left over raisins, the government would sell the remaining raisins and give a portion of the sales back to the growers.
In 2001, raisin growers Marvin and Laura Horne decided to challenge the regulation and not allow the government to take their raisins without compensation. They based their position the 5th Amendment which reads:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.(emphasis ours)
As the government was only paying for a portion of the raisins they sold and not all of the raisins they took, the Hornes put their legal foot down and said “enough is enough.”
Over the course of the years, the Hornes were fined by the Department of Agriculture nearly a million dollars for their not allowing the government to steal take their raisins.
Back when the Affordable Care Act was passed, President Obama and his administration repeatedly said the law was settled, and people needed to move on.
Now that the Hobby Lobby case has gone against the administration, the White House launches a campaign against the now settled law. We understand that winners are always going to say “move on” and losers are going to say “we need to change this!” That is the nature of the beast. However, there is something dishonest about the idea that “women – not their bosses – should make their health care decisions.” (more…)
On Monday, the United States Supreme Court released its opinion in the case of Town of Greece v. Galloway. In a 5 – 4 ruling along ideological lines, the Justices ruled that sectarian prayers prior to public meetings do not violate the US Constitution.
Since 1999, the town of Greece, New York had opened its public meetings with a sectarian prayer offered by volunteer members of the clergy. Linda Stephens who is an atheist, and Susan Galloway who is Jewish, challenged the policy on the basis that as most of the clergy who volunteering were Christians, the town was essentially endorsing a religious point of view.
The conservative majority offered varying interpretations of when such “ceremonial” prayers would be permissible. Kennedy, along with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, focused on the specifics of the Greece case and did not offer a broad expansion of legislative prayer.
Fellow conservative Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia went further, suggesting that even any “subtle pressure” that local citizens might feel would not be enough to ban such prayers.
In dissent, Justice Elena Kagan said, “When the citizens of this country approach their government, they do so only as Americans, not as members of one faith or another. And that means that even in a partly legislative body, they should not confront government-sponsored worship that divides them along religious lines.”
The two plaintiffs had acknowledged that sectarian prayers were allowed at government meetings, which meant the case centered around when does a prayer cross a line between free speech and the free exercise of religion to coercion of citizens to be a member of a certain belief system.
As it often does, the Court offered a set of “tests” to see when a prayer crosses that line:
As what has been described as one of the most crucial cases before the Supreme Court in the history of the country is taking place (The Affordable Care Act), can anyone tell us why a live video and audio feed of this should not be broadcast to the entire country?
It is not as if the arguments are going to be held in private. Instead, the Supreme Court does not allow people – regular people – to actually see what happens in a case.
In 2004, Antoine Jones, the owner of a night club in the District of Columbia, was suspected by the police and the FBI of trafficking in illegal drugs and narcotics. As part of the investigation, in 2005 the government asked for and obtained a warrant from the District of Columbia to attach a global positioning satellite (GPS) device on the Jeep Cherokee used by Jones. The warrant specified the GPS device be installed within 10 days and be installed within the District of Columbia.
However well intentioned the government may have been to catch a drug dealer, the government violated the terms of the warrant and attached the GPS to the Cherokee on the 11th day (after the warrant had expired), and while the car and Jones were in Virginia, not the District of Columbia. The GPS device tracked Jones for 28 days, during which time the agents replaced the battery once. The tracking information which was generated required over 2000 pages to print.
Jones was eventually arrested, tried and convicted for drug trafficking. Upon his conviction, Jones appealed saying the police had violated his fourth Amendment rights. After appeals in lower courts, the Supreme Court took up the case and issued its ruling in U.S. v. Jones saying the government’s use of the GPS device without a legal warrant was in fact a violation of Jones’s Fourth Amendment Rights.
Jones’ conviction was overturned.
The ruling in the case was 9 – 0, but while the vote to overturn was unanimous, the reasoning was not. Four Justices (Scalia, Roberts, Kennedy and Thomas) issued the majority opinion. Justice Sotamayor wrote a concurring opinion which came to the same conclusion but with slightly different reasoning. Justice Alito was joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer and Kagan in another separate concurrence but once again with different reasoning. This was 9 people arriving at the same party by taking different routes.
To understand the decision, we have to start with the basics – the Fourth Amendment itself: (more…)
Our good friend Steve Bussey over at Stevebussey.com has a different take on the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association than we do here at Raised On Hoecakes.
His essay, is, as always, passionate in demonstrating his beliefs. Unfortunately, it is wrong on several issues.
Steve comes right out of the box and claims,
Well, now little Johnny can look daddy square in the eye and tell him to shut the hell up with the backing of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, what the ruling did was not only to acknowledge the parental rights to raise a child as the parent sees fit. The ruling tells the state to stay out of it. “Little Johnny” is still subject to the rules and discipline of his father. What the court is saying is that as a parent, the government does not have the right to tell you how to raise your child.
Why Steve believes that government putting their stamp of approval on how you raise your child is a good thing is unclear, but on this case he is siding with nanny state liberals. (more…)
The court correctly found that the state of California had no Constitutional basis for restricting the sale of “violent video games” without showing genuine harm to minors. In his majority opinion, Justice Scalia noted that while there might be evidence of a correlation of violence in minors and video games, there is no evidence that video games caused the violence. Because there is no factual assertion that video games cause violence or injuries, California’s law was in fact a restriction of the First Amendment.
“Unfortunately, the majority of the Supreme Court once again put the interests of corporate America before the interests of our children,” said the law’s author, Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco). “As a result of their decision, Wal-Mart and the video game industry will continue to make billions of dollars at the expense of our kids’ mental health and the safety of our community. It is simply wrong that the video game industry can be allowed to put their profit margins over the rights of parents and the well-being of children.”
The Supreme Court on Thursday handed down a decision in PLIVA, Inc. v. Mensing in which the Court held that a person could not sue a generic drug maker for failing to warn of the dangers and side effects of a drug.
Gladys Mensing and Julie Demahy had sued Croatia-based PLIVA Inc. and other generic drug manufacturers in state courts in Minnesota and Louisiana over the labels for metoclopramide, the generic version of Reglan. The two women alleged that metoclopramide gave them a severe neurological movement disorder called tardive dyskinesia, but none of the generic drug’s manufacturers and distributors made any effort to include warnings on the label.
One would think that this is a clear case of negligence on the part of the drug makers.
So why didn’t the Supreme Court side with the two women? (more…)