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Fifth Amendment Challenge Against USDA’s “Raisin Taking” Makes It To The Supreme Court

raisin outlaw

California raisin farmer, Martin Horne, has been battling a Depression era U.S. Department of Agriculture regulation for over a decade. Horne says that the 1937 revision of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act amounts to a violation of his Fifth Amendment protections, and is nothing short of government theft.

The Act gave birth to the Raisin Administrative Committee and the National Raisin Reserve ( yes, these are real things), and allowed them to confiscate a portion of raisin crops each year in an effort to stabilize raisin prices. The regulations are (surprise!) convoluted in that they don’t permit taking of crops from growers (producers) of grapes, but from handlers who dry and package raisins.  Horne is both.

In 2001, Horne claimed he was not subject to the USDA’s raisin taking, but they demanded 47% of his crop. When he refused, they slapped him with a $700,000 fine.  Horne has been navigating the court system since.

In 2013, the Supreme Court booted the challenge back to the Ninth Circuit, which ruled that the Fifth Amendment’s “Taking Clause” was not applicable in the case of raisins, and if it were ( ?) handlers were compensated by the controlled pricing on the raisins allowed to be sold by the Raisin Administrative Committee.

Christie and Rubio Join the Fair-Weather Federalists on Weed

marijuana prohibition

 

Meant to have this edited and published yesterday for 4/20. Mea culpa, stoners. ~ Ed.

As marijuana is gradually legalized across the country, the issue of how to handle it at the federal level becomes trickier by the year, and as we enter election season, potentially disastrous. Chris Christie and Marco Rubio are now finding that out.

Though only one has officially announced for the White House run, both have come out against relaxing federal restrictions on marijuana use that would allow states to continue their legalization efforts. Technically, while it remains a federally controlled substances states are only legalizing weed at the whim of the president (and attorney general). If the chief executive wanted to authorize the DEA to arrest everyone who is legally using marijuana in Colorado and Washington, he would be well within his rights to do so. So there’s a big asterisk hanging over any state and local legalization efforts. And Christie and Rubio would turn that asterisk into a hammer.

While Rubio said he disagrees that states can affect federal policy on the issue, Christie went so far as to say he would “crack down” on the ones trying to do so. Both risk alienating even Republican primary voters, who overwhelmingly think states should be free to legalize marijuana as they wish. The days of “tough on crime” prohibition as a mandatory platform for elective office are long gone.

Court Watcher: ACA’s Defenders Should Hope for Judicial Activism in King v. Burwell

Earlier this week Harvard ConLaw professor Noah Feldman posited in a Bloomberg View column that Obamacare supporters better hope that liberal Justice Anthony Kennedy (pictured above, right) provides the crucial vote to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s subsidy provisions as promulgated by the Internal Revenue Service, which would be strong judicial activism on Kennedy’s part:

The uncomfortable truth (for liberals, at least) is that the ACA case arises from a piece of statutory language that on its face explicitly says that tax subsidies are only available for health insurance purchased on an exchange “established by the state.”

Plato Told Hillary

 


Hillary’s Nipponized bit of the Sixth Avenue el hasn’t come back to haunt us yet, but it surely will.

Originally posted, with great fanfare, at The Ancient & Noble Order of the Gormogons. You have no idea what we had to promise to get them to agree to let us use it. We don’t want to talk about it. ~ Ed.

Posted by — ‘Puter

‘Puter awoke this morning to the crew on Morning Joe announcing in Very Serious Voices ™ the New York Times broke another Clinton Family scandal.

‘Puter yawned, assuming this would be another quickly dismissed “the Clintons are on the take” disclosure, one of which the media would quickly tire. Hey, ‘Puter remembers the Clinton-Media Complex from way back in Bill’s White House days.

Not so fast, though. Sure, this scandal’s about the Clintons and their congenital lust for money and power, no matter how dirty the source. But it’s also more than that, and ‘Puter thinks this scandal just may have staying power.

Baltimore and What Happens After the Riot

baltimore riots

 

There’s a lot to report on, and infer about, what happened in Baltimore last night.

A protest over the death of Freddie Gray, who was critically injured in police custody, started peacefully with thousands marching through downtown streets before the demonstration turned violent and volatile.

The chaotic scene Saturday night prompted the first public remarks from Freddie Gray’s twin sister, who pleaded for peace at a news conference alongside the mayor.

“My family wants to say, can you all please, please stop the violence?” Fredricka Gray said. “Freddie Gray would not want this.”

Given there’s no way to do it all justice in any meaningful way — who understands what it’s like to be in the storm when they’re watching it on TV (sorry, Twitter)? — but there are few questions that bear noting now.

First, it is true that riots solve exactly nothing. There was apparently a rather well organized (ahem) peaceful protest in the afternoon that went wonky as the sun began to go down. But the question is this: did anyone think that that peaceful protest would disperse peacefully in a city that takes great pride in being the home of The Wire? This is a city that is heavily segregrated, both racially and economically, so the disenfranchised will exploit an opportunity to be heard, even if the way they speak is coarse, selfish, and patently ineffective. The surprise that the riot happened was most surprising.

Raisin Taking

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