Raisin farmer Marvin Horne. Image from YouTube.

Health Impact News

The U.S. Supreme Court today handed down their decision in USDA vs. Horne. See our previous coverage of this story:

Farmer Stands up to Government Stealing His Raisins

Small Raisin Farmers Stand Up to the USDA: Case to be Heard by U.S. Supreme Court

You can also watch this video from for background to the story:

Press coverage from today’s ruling:

Supreme Court sides with raisin growers in victory for 5th Amendment, free market


The Supreme Court on Monday sided with California raisin growers, reversing a ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that permitted government bureaucrats to fix raisin prices.

The case involves a Depression era regulation known as an agriculture marketing order, which requires that a share of every grower’s crop be placed under the control of a crop-specific committee that sells, exports or donates surplus yields. The rule was created in the late 1930s in an effort to stabilize crop prices under the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act (AMAA).

Unfortunately for farmers like Marvin and Lena Horne, who are at the center of the recent Supreme Court ruling, the government had declared previously that simply choosing to grow a specific crop agriculturally requires agreement on a farmer’s part to sell only with the government’s blessing.

The USDA set to make an example of the Hornes for opting out of the price-fixing scheme, slapping them with about $1 million in fines and threatening their small farm.

The farmers sued, claiming that packaging and selling their raisins themselves rather than turning them over to the government pool made them “producers,” not “handlers,” and, therefore, not subject to the government rules.

Read the Full Story.

Supreme Court strikes down federal raisin program as unconstitutional

USA Today


The 8-1 decision was written by Chief Justice John Roberts, with the court’s more conservative justices in solid agreement. Roberts said the government violates citizens’ rights when it seizes personal property — say, a car — as well as real property such as a house.

While the government can regulate production in order to keep goods off the market, the chief justice said it cannot seize that property without compensation.

“Selling produce in interstate commerce … (is) n ot a special governmental benefit that the government may hold hostage, to be ransomed by the waiver of constitutional protection,” Roberts said. “Raisins are not dangerous pesticides; they are a healthy snack.”

Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented, while Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan would have allowed the lower court to reconsider the issue.

But they limited their verdict to raisins, lest they simultaneously overturn other government programs that limit production of goods without actually seizing private property.

Read the Full Story.