Supreme Court to hear arguments whether feds can continue to take raisins without compensation

For reasons that defy logic, common sense, and basic morality, the federal government still has in place a New Deal era policy that raisin farmers must turn over some percentage of their crop to the federal government without compensation.

The purpose of the program is to increase prices to consumers.

No, this isn’t an April Fool’s Day post.

No, I’m not making this up.

George Will points out in his April 17 article, Shriveled grapes, shriveled liberty, the Supreme Court will finally hear oral arguments next Wednesday (4/22) on a case that has been in court for years.

(Cross-post from my other blog, Outrun Change.)

A raisin farmer claims that being forced to turn over 47% of his ’02 crop and 30% of his ’03 crop is an illegal taking. Under U.S. law, when the government takes something from you, a ‘taking’, the government must compensate you.

Since the New Deal was put in place, this takings requirement hasn’t applied to farmers.

The farmer had to first work his way to the Supreme Court just to get permission to sue the government (They said he had standing, which tells me the trial court and appeals court didn’t consider that he had standing.  That he had to turn over a third or half of his crop without compensation didn’t have enough impact on him to be allowed to sue. Can someone explain that to me?)

The Ninth Circuit Court found it was perfectly fine to take without compensation an arbitrary percentage of a farmer’s crop because of economic conditions one hundred years ago.

Now the farmer will finally get to argue to the Supremes that he should be compensated when the feds take his crop.

It isn’t just raisins. Mr. Will explains:

The law has spawned more than 25 “marketing orders” covering almonds, apricots, avocados, cherries, cranberries, dates, grapes, hazelnuts, kiwifruit, onions, pears, pistachios, plums, spearmint oil, walnuts and other stuff.

The prices of all those items are artificially higher than they would otherwise be.

I’ve previously discussed this:

Can someone smarter than me describe the worldview in which this taking can even be considered moral, let alone legal?

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