Supreme Court rules government cannot confisicate farmer crops

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The Supreme Court ruled 8-1 today that a 66 year old program that allowed the federal government to confiscate the crops of farmers in order to manage the supply and demand was unconstitutional.

Writing for the court, Chief Justice John Roberts said the government must pay “just compensation” when it takes personal goods just as when it takes land away. He rejected the government’s argument that the Hornes voluntarily chose to participate in the raisin market and have the option of selling different crops if they don’t like it. “‘Let them sell wine’ is probably not much more comforting to the raisin growers than similar retorts have been to others throughout history,” Roberts said. “Property rights cannot be so easily manipulated.”

The Constitution on property rights is very clear. The government has to pay for any property it takes. That it required a Supreme Court decision to enforce this plain language should distress us all.


  • Keith

    I saw this comment in the article:

    “Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the only dissenter. She said the program did not deprive the Hornes of all their property rights; it just limited the amount of potential income they could earn from it.”

    That’s the point of view of a US Supreme Court Justice. Wow.

  • Cotour

    I took 66 years to come this conclusion? These wheels may grind so slowly that it becomes a non issue to those who are effected in real time, they may all be long dead and bankrupted.

  • pzatchok

    This activity must have started because some farmers coalition wanted to force all farmers to keep specific prices high.

    What was the metric for who got to grow the crops and who got them confiscated? Big farms first?

    This rule sort of takes some of the gambling out of the commodities market. Orange prices going to low just have a few small orchards produce confiscated and destroyed at no cost.

    The cost of this program should fall entirely on farmers. They get a special tax just to cover the costs of confiscations.

    As soon as some big farm figures out it is in effect paying to keep its own prices high this funny business will stop.

  • pzatchok

    I believe they still restrict the importation of peanuts but not any other nuts.

    Just to keep peanut prices high.

  • Phill O

    Seems the Mexican nuts keep flowing in.

  • PeterF

    During Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation hearing, The supreme court ruled that the 2nd amendment was a personal right for self defense. When she was asked by Arlen Specter if she agreed, the self described “wise Latina” said “What if I were to go home, get a gun, and come back and shoot you.” To which the idiot Specter replied in a borderline racist imitation of Ricky Ricardo ‘You’d have a lot of splainin to do”.

    No one, absolutely NO ONE picked up on the fact that when a nominee to the Supreme Court, the highest judicial position in the United States was asked a question about self defense she responded with a situation that anyone who watches prime time crime dramas would be able to tell you is a case of premeditated murder. (The ability to leave and arm yourself removes the requirement that you must be in imminent danger to be able to use deadly force to protect yourself).

    WHY is no one concerned that a supreme court justice does not seem to know the difference between self-defense and murder?

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