Supreme Court Rules Raisins Are Not For The Government’s Taking.

raisins-on-cutting-board-ROHYesterday 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.

In a decision with the 8 justices agreeing totally or in part, the Supreme Court ruled that the raisin program was, in fact, a taking of property without compensation.

Only Justice Sotomayor dissented totally:

“A reduction in the value of property is not necessarily equated with a taking,” Sotomayor wrote.

Sotomayor’s thinking is contrary to inner workings of the program itself where the raisin growers were compensated only for the raisins they sold, not for the raisins that went to other governmental programs.

As we said, the decision is a victory for the property rights of citizens and a defeat for government who has far too often thought that your goods and products actually belong to them.

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