ShareThis Page
Editorials

The raisins ruling: What 'property' is

| Tuesday, June 23, 2015, 9:00 p.m.

Nearly 10 years to the day since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that government could take real property for private use, the high court ruled that government could not take personal property in the same perverted guise of, ostensibly, aiding the economy.

It was a decade ago Tuesday that the court, ruling 5-4 in the notorious Kelo case, said government could, with just compensation, seize your real property and hand it over to a private developer. That ruling warped the Fifth Amendment's “public use” doctrine beyond recognition.

But on Monday, the court, ruling 8-1 in Horne v. U.S. Department of Agriculture, began to return recognizable form to the amendment's Takings Clause by rejecting a New Deal-era abomination that allowed the government to seize a portion of a raisin farmer's crop without just compensation in order to create raisin scarcity that would raise prices.

Said Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority, “Government has a categorical duty to pay just compensation when it takes your car, just as when it takes your home.”

The Horne ruling will not end these market-manipulating programs. But it will make them less attractive to government's command economists. And it signals a welcome return to the kind of legal sanity that Kelo eschewed.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me