Property Rights Advocates Win One Against the Dept.of Agriculture

Property Rights Advocates Win One Against the Dept.of Agriculture

In a major decision, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a Department of Agriculture program that required raisin growers to turn over part of their crop to the government, which would keep raisin prices stable by managing supply.

In Horne v. Department of Agriculture, the court ruled 8-1 that raisin confiscation violated the Fifth Amendment's takings clause, which requires the government to fairly compensate owners when they take private property for a public purpose. The court ruled the takings clause applies to personal property as well as real estate.

According to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the court's ruling is important for all businesses, not just raisin growers. "If this policy had survived, government agencies would have been able to rationalize the confiscation of almost anything," said Karen Harned, executive direction of the NFIB Small Business Legal Center.