The government has been stealing raisins since the Depression.
In 2002, Horne decided to stop giving part of his crop to the feds and has continued to do so every year since. In response, the government is saying that he now owes them 1.2 million pounds of raisins and he is facing fines of $650,000 dollars.
Horne contends that the Marketing Order confiscation of raisins violates the Fifth Amendment clause against the seizure of private property without just compensation. The last clause of the Fifth Amendment reads:
“…nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
In June, Horne’s case went before the US Supreme Court who ordered a federal appeals court to take another look at the case of Mark and Laura Horne. The couple have rested their entire future on the case to overturn the Marketing Order and what he believes to be the theft of millions of dollars of raisins. They said that if they lose and the federal appeals court rules against them, that they will owe the nearly $3 million for back payment of raisins not delivered. That would bankrupt the couple, causing them to lose everything.
What is this “Marketing Order”?
In 1949, the Raisin Administrative Committee was formed under the Agricultural Agreement Act of 1937. In 1949, Democrat Harry Truman was President of the United States and both the House and Senate were controlled by the Democrats. The Congress was still following the liberal progressive agenda of FDR. Marketing Order 989 gave the newly formed Raisin Administration Committee the right to regulate raisin sales from grapes grown in California. They set prices and determined how many grapes were sold domestically. Supposedly, the new law was to help protect poorer farmers by controlling the supply, demand and the price of raisins in response to the Great Depression.
Part of the order gave the committee the right to secure a percentage of every grower’s grapes without compensating them. The government could then turn around and sell their raisin supply and the monies would go into the federal coffers of the Agriculture Department.
The Supreme Court decision back in 2013 merely forced the lower courts to hear the case as a Constitutional issue. As the Reason.com blog explains,
When the Hornes and a few other raisin farmers tried to challenge the USDA’s seizure of their crop without payment as an unconstitutional taking of property in violation of the Fifth Amendment, the government balked and said that the issue should be heard in a Federal Claims court, as the case had nothing to do with the taking of property but instead was a matter of the Hornes violating farming regulations and being fined for doing so. Remarkably, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the USDA and declared that they had no jurisdiction in the case.
How radical and arbitrary was the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision? The Supreme Court overturned it nine to zero. They forced the court to consider this an issue of “taking” and evaluate the law on the Constitutional question.
It is no surprise that the same court still found that the government stealing of raisins was perfectly Constitutional.
So now the decision has been appealed again.
And the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal!
So pray for the Hornes, other raisin growers, and the Republic as this case is heard.
Here is a video report on the case from Reason: