Thursday, September 10, 2015

Supremes take on FDR's raisin cartel...

...and win:
Here's a concrete example. In 2003–04, the RAC demanded 30 percent of the crop, which amounted to more than 89,000 tons of raisins. It gave away 2,312 tons to school lunch and other government programs and it sold 86,732 tons for export. The RAC pocketed $111,242,849 from that sale, or $1,249.30 per ton. It then spent all of the proceeds on its own operations. In return, raisin growers got nothing.

From the feds' point of view, this might make sense. Raisins are kept off the domestic market, prices are tightly controlled, and a government agency makes a few bucks along the way. But there's a major problem with the government's approach. According to the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the government must pay just compensation when it takes private property for a public use. And as far as Marvin and Laura Horne were concerned, the raisin marketing order was nothing less than an uncompensated taking of their valuable property. "It was a theft," Marvin Horne told Reason TV in July 2013. "The reserve was nothing but highway robbery."
Justice Kagan seemed to understand this:
"Mr. Palmore," asked Justice Elena Kagan, "would anything be wrong—with a—with a disposition of this Court that went something like this: Everybody agrees that this is not a jurisdictional issue, including the government, so [the 9th Circuit] got that wrong....And now the 9th Circuit can go and try to figure out whether this marketing order is a taking or it's just the world's most outdated law."

HT:  Larry

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