Horne v. Department of Agriculture (U.S. Supreme Court)
Plaintiffs are raisin farmers who challenged the Department of Agriculture’s raisin marketing order as an unconstitutional taking of private property without just compensation. Each year, plaintiffs are required to forfeit a portion of their raisin crop to stabilize prices. The Ninth Circuit rejected the challenge, holding that the Fifth Amendment’s “categorical duty” to pay just compensation when it takes possession of private property applies only to real property, not to personal property. On behalf of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, we authored an amicus brief showing that the Takings Clause embodied a legal tradition of just compensation that dates back to before the Magna Carta, and that the right to compensation has always applied to personal property as well as to real property. The Supreme Court reversed, and its analysis opened with a discussion of the Magna Carta and several of the historical sources presented in our brief.