News & Events:

I HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE: MARKETING ORDER MAY BE UNCONSTITUTIONAL

July 30, 2015

The US Supreme Court heard arguments in April that the taking of a Valley farmer's raisins for a reserve under the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 eminent domain provision is a taking by the government without just compensation, which is unconstitutional.  While each commodity's program differs from others, doubtless each association and its growers are watching for the outcome of this case.

The Marketing Agreement Act, a government program dating back to the Great Depression, requires raisin farmers to contribute to a reserve for later use.   Horne, a Kerman area grower, has been opposing the requirement for the last 12 years, claiming the reserve violates the Fifth Amendment takings clause.  It has been reported that Horne was required to submit 37% and 42% of his crops in the two years preceding his legal saga.  And it has been a saga because this is Horne's second trip to the Supreme Court.

In 2013 the Ninth Circuit federal appeals court rejected Horne's case because it said it should be submitted to the federal claims court as a tax appeal, not an eminent domain case but the Supreme Court directed it to consider the issue.  Justice Elena Kagen foretold of troubled waters stating the Ninth Circuit should figure out "whether this marketing order is a taking, or just the world's most outdated law."

Reports of the April 2015 oral arguments before the US Supreme Court indicate the Government took more fire than did Horne.  One Justice likened the program to Central Planning in 1937 Russia, or forcing cell phone makers to give every fifth phone to the government.  

A decision is expected this month.

Case citation:  Horne v Department of Agriculture (2013) 133 S.Ct. 2053, 186 LEd.2d 69.

 

Author

Rayma Church
Rayma Church

Practice Area

  • Agribusiness Disputes & Litigation