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Raisin farmers in California are required to give up a certain amount of their crop without compensation to the FDR-era Raisin Administrative Committee (yes…we have one).) Farmers Marvin and Laura Horne been locked in legal combat for ten years to retain their property, the case got to the Supreme Court only to get kicked down to the 9th Circuit Court, where they lost. Now it’s headed back to the Supremes (whose sterling record of protecting property rights will no doubt remain a thing of imagination.)

At the heart, does personal property — crops, here — qualify for the same protections under the Fifth Amendment’s “Takings Clause” as real estate? The obvious, correct answer to anyone not part of the political class is YES but the Supremes showed their hand in Kelo v New London. The government is more than willing to steal your property for the benefit of big business interestes (Pfizer in Kelo, large packers like Sun-Maid in California in Horne.)

USDA v Horne goes long past the raisin farmers — it will set a precedence for all personal property. Does the government have the right to steal your stuff? If they do, then what is the point in working to better yourself?

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