Stapleton: Raisin Farmers Win One for Property Rights

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In an 8-1 decision, the Supreme Court decided Monday that the government cannot take your property without just compensation.

For decades, the federal government has been confiscating huge portions of the raisin crop under authority they claim to possess through the The Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1937. It turns out they’re wrong.

The one dissenting opinion was Justice Sotomayor, who argued that since the taking “does not deprive the Hornes of all their property rights, it does not effect a per se taking.”

In English that reads, “Since the government didn’t take all of their raisins, it should be free to take some of the raisins and not pay for them.” It’s an argument no rational person who understands property rights would make. It’s akin to saying since the government only took half of your land it shouldn’t have to pay for it.

The good news is, in this case, personal property rights were upheld. The problem is that it took 10 years. The federal government wields far too much power today. If you seek to challenge its blatantly unconstitutional actions, you had better be ready for a long and expensive fight. Thankfully we still have a small group of people willing to stand up and fight for what the Constitution already protects. What’s sad is that they actually have to.