'Big Victory for Private Property': Raisin Farmer Wins Battle With Feds
The Supreme Court ruled this morning in favor of a California raisin farmer who refused to give up some of his crops to the federal government.
The court, in an 8-1 decision, said the 66-year-old program - in which the government takes raisin crops in order to reduce supply and boost prices - is unconstitutional.
The ruling is a victory for California farmers Marvin and Laura Horne, who claimed they were losing money under a 1940s-era program they call outdated and ineffective. They were fined $695,000 for trying to get around the program.
A federal appeals court said the program was acceptable because the farmers benefited from higher market prices and didn't lose the entire value of their crop.
The government argued that the Hornes benefited from increased raisin prices, but their cause had won wide support from conservative groups opposed to government action that infringes on private property rights.
Writing for the court, Chief Justice John Roberts said the government must pay "just compensation" when it takes personal goods just as when it takes land away. He rejected the government's argument that the Hornes voluntarily chose to participate in the raisin market and have the option of selling different crops if they don't like it.
"'Let them sell wine' is probably not much more comforting to the raisin growers than similar retorts have been to others throughout history," Roberts said. "Property rights cannot be so easily manipulated."
Todd Gaziano of the Pacific Legal Foundation and Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano reacted to the decision on "Varney & Co."
Napolitano said this ruling is "absolutely a victory for private property." He said the case boiled down to a Fifth Amendment clause that states private property cannot be taken for public use without just compensation.
The judge said the government has always argued that the Fifth Amendment clause only pertains to real estate.
"The Supreme Court today, for the first time in in 230 years, made it crystal clear [that] it applies to any property. Personal property or real estate," he explained.
Napolitano predicted that this ruling will impact future legal matters in which government regulations lower the value of private property.
Watch the segment above.