Yesterday the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Horne v. USDA, with many Justices skeptical of the government’s position that it can seize nearly half of a family’s raisin crop under a USDA program without creating a “taking” for which it would owe just compensation under the Fifth Amendment of the Bill of Rights. Cato filed an amicus brief on behalf of the raisin-farming Horne family, as it had also done at earlier stages of the protracted case [our earlier coverage; my colleague Trevor Burrus’s write-up from March; Damon Root, Reason] And The Daily Show (“raisin outlaw”).
“Property of the Hess Estate Which Has Never Been Dedicated For Public Purposes.” That’s the message on a tiled mosaic triangle inset in a sidewalk at Seventh Avenue and Christopher Street in Manhattan’s West Village. It hearkens back to a 1920s-1930s dispute over eminent domain, and stands as the enduring monument to a property owner who wouldn’t give in [Dan Lewis, Now I Know, who adds a note on the historic Kelo v. New London dispute]
For a second time, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case in which federal agricultural marketing order regulations compelled the Horne family of California to surrender about half their raisin crop for little if any compensation. [Will Baude, Ilya Somin, Michael McConnell] A previous high court ruling had kicked the case back to the Ninth Circuit for further proceedings [earlier here and here.]
Should the Court deem the requisitions a taking for which compensation is due, the implications for other agricultural programs are considerable. “Similar USDA marketing order programs are in place for almonds, apricots, avocados, cherries (both sweet and tart), Florida and Texas citrus, cranberries, dates, grapes, hazelnuts, kiwifruit, olives, many onions and pears, pistachios, California plums and prunes, many potatoes, raisins, spearmint oil, tomatoes, and walnuts.” [Baylen Linnekin]
Also, wouldn’t this make a good illustration?
The New York governor was a lawyer by training — Gideon Kanner recalls his start as an eminent domain compensation lawyer in Queens — and drew insight from the experience. Bill Hammond of the Daily News:
— Bill Hammond (@NYDNHammond) January 3, 2015
During his term in office I wrote two pieces for the Wall Street Journal about Cuomo, one an opinion piece on New York’s finances, another a review of an unsuitably hagiographic biography; neither is online so far as I know. My view was that despite his lion-of-the-Left reputation, Cuomo had governed in a cautious rather than radical way, and by the same token had in no way been a transformational figure for his state: New York had largely the same set of governance problems when he left office as when he entered.
Also on the Sony affair, from @conor64: “Failure to release The Interview is less a sign of corporate cowardice than overbroad liability laws that would let people sue after attack.”
- “An Innovative Way to Title Property in Poor Countries” [Ian Vasquez on Peter Schaefer and Clay Schaefer Cato study]
- Berman v. Parker, “1954 U.S. Supreme Court case that approved large-scale modern urban renewal”, facilitated a bulldozer redevelopment of Washington, D.C.’s SW now viewed as “crushing failure” [Gideon Kanner]
- Time for a radical step: strip local government of its project-blocking powers [Edward Glaeser, Cato]
- When reporting on European anti-fracking movements, try not to think of a Bear [Jonathan Adler]
- “The EPA wants to redefine ‘the waters of the United States’ to mean virtually any wet spot in the country.” [M. Reed Hopper and Todd Gaziano, WSJ] Overcriminalization, EPA, and wetlands: the Jack Barron case [Right on Crime video]
- Exhaustion of state remedies on takings: “Supreme Court Should Remove Kafka-esque Burden to Vindicating Property Rights” [Ilya Shapiro and Trevor Burrus]
- “Proposition 65 can spell bankruptcy for many California small business owners” [Mark Snyder, Sacramento Bee]
- California resists idea of charging market-clearing rate for water — too much like economics — and instead encourages tattling on neighbors [New York Times, Coyote]
- Academia smitten by notion of “climate reparations” [Peter Wood, Minding the Campus]
- Costly market intervention: “Minnesota doubles down on nation’s top biodiesel law” [Watchdog]
- Reusable grocery bags have their problems for sanitation and otherwise, but California contemplates banning the alternatives [Katherine Mangu-Ward, Steven Greenhut, Reason]
- Coming: film about Kelo v. City of New London eminent domain case [Nick Gillespie, Ilya Somin]
- 45 years later: the famous 1969 fire on the Cuyahoga became a fable for its age [Jonathan Adler on the Cuyahoga]
- Should beachfront owners have to open their land to all comers? [NY Times “Room for Debate”]
- Plus: “EPA has no business garnishing wages without due process” [Examiner editorial, earlier]
The state legislature adjourned last week having abandoned a threat to seize the hit TV show “House of Cards” through the use of eminent domain, with negotiations over the extent of tax subsidies to the show still hanging in part. I’ve got an update at Cato, with specific attention to the use of eminent domain to confiscate moveable and intangible assets, as opposed to land; in earlier episodes, Maryland has gone after the Baltimore Colts football team (which escaped) and the Preakness horse race (which agreed to stay).
Kind of like Venezuela with Old Bay seasoning: “Responding to a threat that the “House of Cards” television series may leave Maryland if it doesn’t get more tax credits, the House of Delegates adopted budget language Thursday requiring the state to seize the production company’s property if it stops filming in the state. … Del. William Frick, a Montgomery County Democrat, proposed the provision, which orders the state to use the right of eminent domain to buy or condemn the property of any company that has claimed $10 million or more credits against the state income tax. The provision would appear to apply only to the Netflix series, which has gotten the bulk of the state credits.” [Baltimore Sun, Washington Post, earlier citing David Boaz]