A petition for a writ of certioria asking the US Supreme Court to review decision by the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and the Federal Claims Court, was filed with the Supreme Court of the United States on December 28. The filing, consisting of the Raisin Producers petition for writ of certiorari, asks the Supreme Court to consider whether the Federal Marketing Order governing raisins is unconstitutional as applied to the producers.
Raisins are produced only in a small geographic area around Fresno, California. A producer's crop must be stemmed, sorted, and cleaned before it can be sold. This work is called "handling"; anyone who performs the task is called a "handler."
When a producer delivers raw raisins to a handler, or embarks on handling himself, the Federal Marketing Order requires that a fraction of the crop be automatically, and immediately, re-titled to the United States and set aside in boxes owned by it. The government's functional instrumentality is not USDA, but the USDA's statutory subagency, the Raisin Administrative Committee, or "RAC."
Producers are not paid for the raisins taken from them. Instead, they are compelled to suffer the loss of a substantial part of their crop - at times as high as 47% - without compensation of any kind at the time, and often with little or no compensation whatsoever. Sometimes, producers eventually receive a small fraction of the crop's value when it is ultimately sold, or used, by the government. But the price paid is always far less than the fair market value of free tonnage raisins bought and sold in the cash market.
January 2, 2007
David A. Domina
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