June 22, 2015: The U.S. Supreme Court today ruled in favor of raisin growers, holding that crops turned over to the government in a New Deal-era scheme to keep prices artificially high is a violation of constitutional property rights and entitles the growers to "just compensation" for the crops turned over to the government. Horne, et al. v. Department of Agriculture, No. 14-275.
Southeastern Legal Foundation joined CATO Institute, National Federation of Independent Business, Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, Institute for Justice, and Reason Foundation in filing an amicus curiae brief on the merits to the Supreme Court Marvin and Lena Horne and California raisin growers seeking review of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals outrage – allowing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to pay nothing for crops mandated to be turned over to them under a New Deal-era law. In 2013, the Supreme Court unanimously rebuffed the government’s attempt against the Hornes and California raisin growers to make property owners sue twice - once in federal district court and once in the Court of Claims – to vindicate property rights.
In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court held that the scheme forcing growers to turn over the fruits of their labor with no hope of recovering expenses or, in some cases, any compensation at all, is unconstitutional.
"This is a major blow to the government's program of boosting prices by keeping crops off the market, and a major victory for agriculture in America," said Shannon Goessling, SLF executive director and chief legal counsel. "The high court has determined that government market-fixing through mandates to turn over crops grown is a denial of fundamental property rights entitling the growers to just compensation."
SLF submitted its amicus brief in this case on March 9, 2015 (see this website for more details).