By David B. Rivkin, Jr., and Andrew M. Grossman — 22 June 2015 in USA Today
Constitutional law isn’t all conflict. It may seem that way as the Supreme Court barrels along to the conclusion of another term, with contentious cases concerning same-sex marriage, Obamacare, and seemingly every other issue plucked from the headlines. But the high-profile controversies obscure that, as much as the Supreme Court may be divided, the justices are able to come together on a great many important issues.
For example, raisins. Yes, those tiny wrinkled morsels. The tiny snacks are also the subject of a major challenge to government power — one that has revealed surprising agreement on the Court.
Marvin and Laura Horne have been growing raisins for 40 years on their family’s California farmland. After they decided to dry the raisins for themselves, rather than sell their grapes to a processor, they found themselves in the cross hairs of the federal government, facing fines of nearly a million dollars.
Their crime? Refusing to allow the government to seize over a million pounds of the raisins they had grown and processed themselves.
It is the dirty little secret of American agriculture that raisins and other crops, despite being produced by private parties, are actually under the control of the federal government, which colludes with major producers to fix prices and control the market.
These so-called “marketing programs” are a relic of the New Deal, a time when the U.S. response to the threat of Soviet five-year plans was to adopt our own, but better. The rest of the economy that was once subject to central planning has since embraced the free market. Farming is among the last holdouts.
Read more »