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As a Matter of Fact, Raisins Are Protected By the Fifth Amendment



Earlier this year we wrote about the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals case of Horne v. Department of Agriculture (here). In that case, the court of appeals ruled that a Department of Agriculture marketing order that required raisin farmers to divert a certain percentage of their crops to a reserve without compensation was not a categorical or per se unconstitutional takings under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court accepted the case, and on June 22, 2015, reversed the court of appeals.

The Supreme Court ruled that the government must pay just compensation when it takes personal property, such as raisins, even if the farmers receive some compensation. The farmers are entitled to full compensation for the property taken. The Court reiterated that the Takings Clause applies to both personal property and real property. The government also cannot require the raisin farmers to relinquish their raisins in exchange for selling the raisins in interstate commerce. Here, there was a physical appropriation of the raisins, which meant that it was a categorical or per se takings under Loretto v. Teleprompter Manhattan CATV Corp., and the ad hoc balancing test for other types of takings claims did not apply. To read the full opinion, click here.

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