Believe it or not, there exist federal regulations that empower the U.S. government to remove farmers’ produce if they think that produce will affect the market price. Established by Roosevelt’s New Deal of the 1930s (where growers would be paid to either not overload the market or simply not grow the crop at all), concerns have always been voiced as to whether this is a constitutional removal of property under the 5th Amendment.
In 2002, two Californian raisin farmers, Marvin [pictured above] and Laura Horne, refused to give over their excess crop to government officials in possession of a “marketing order,” – Fed documentation that would result in the raisins being put in a national reserve, keeping demand high while the market price was low. Essentially, the Horne’s felt this was stealing as they would not be paid fairly for the removed raisins. They received a $480,000 fine, with an additional $200,000 civil penalty – and duly refused to pay.
However, on Monday, Chief Justice John Roberts finally ruled in favor of the Hornes, saying that the raisins grown were “the fruit of the growers’ labor,” not “public things subject to the absolute control of the state.” As J. David Breemer, one of the Hornes’ attorneys, stated, “The government cannot come and take your personal property without compensation.”
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