The Raisin Administrative Committee

I will wager a guess that you have no idea that lurking within the bowels of the federal government we have a Raisin Administrative Committee.  But, we do.  It has come to light as a result of an oral argument last week before the United States Supreme Court.

In order to stabilize raisin prices during the Great Depression, for reasons known only to that administration,

U.S. raisin farmers have been required for nearly 80 years to turn over a share of their crops to the federal government every year, often at below-market prices.

This matter is now before the Supreme Court because Marvin and Laura Horne founded a business,

… to process and pack the raisins themselves, mistakenly reasoning that their raisins would then not pass through the middleman “sellers” who must forfeit a share of the crop to the government.

Unfortunately, for the Horne’s, said reasoning was faulty.  The Raisin Administrative Committee swooped in and ordered them to pay $483,843 as the value of the raisins they didn’t “forfeit” to the federal government, and for good measure, added $202,600 in fines to the tab.  Understandably upset, the Horne’s sued, and after years of lower court wranglings the matter ended up before the United States Supreme Court.

The issue is pretty simple…does the virtual seizure of raisins by the federal government violate the takings clause of the Constitution, i.e., that section of the Fifth Amendment that provides that private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation.

I’m sure you are wondering, as am I, what “public use” could the federal government possibly have for said raisins.  Hopefully, this burning question will be answered in the Supreme Court’s opinion.

But, beyond that, I know I will sleep better tonight knowing that we can afford a Raisin Administrative Committee, but can’t afford White House tours for our children, or air traffic controllers, or airport security, or…


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The Sound Off Sister was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and special trial attorney for the Department of Justice, Criminal Division; a partner in the Florida law firm of Shutts & Bowen, and an adjunct professor at the University of Miami, School of Law. The Sound Off Sister offers frequent commentary concerning legislation making its way through Congress, including the health reform legislation passed in early 2010.


  1. Lynn on March 26, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    This is Raisin hell with me!

  2. Eric on March 26, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    I’m so disgusted with this government of ours that after reading about this ‘Raisin Administrative Committee’ I went out on my front porch and screamed as loudly as I could. ?I’m a little bit hoarse right now, and I don’t feel any better either. ?Folks, our federal government is so out of control that I don’t think we’ll ever be able to reel it back in. ?I really do feel like giving up right now!

  3. JBS on March 27, 2013 at 7:48 am

    Folks, this is Big Government at its worst!
    Look up the case of long-time raisin growers/farmers Marvin and Laura Horn.
    ?The RAC is a holdover from the 1937 New Deal Era. It sounds an awful lot like Soviet style demand economic philosophy. (Democrat inspired and Democrat enabled.)
    It is alive and confiscating property — raisin harvests — from anyone “the group” decides is threatening the stability of their raisin fiefdom.
    It really is the “Grapes of Wrath”redux 2013.

  4. Plainvillian on March 27, 2013 at 8:51 am

    How many indignities and intrusions will it take before Americans revolt? ?

  5. SeeingRed on March 27, 2013 at 9:09 am

    I love it SoS.? Everyday we have a new example of how our Gubmint is literally peeing away our money while $7mm vacations, $321k limo rides in Paris and 1,300 empty Fed buildings/state are the ‘norm’ that just can’t be cut.

    • JBS on March 27, 2013 at 9:53 am

      Our beloathed leader, the Prince of Petulance, has to get all of the high living in as prezzy before he becomes an official has-been.
      It must be a super ego trip to order Air Force One to standby and take your a** anywhere you want. Since the head ‘rat is abusing his office, all of the subordinate ‘rats are just following their leader.
      Empty buildings? Maybe that’s where the new ObamaCare offices are going.

  6. Dimsdale on March 27, 2013 at 10:35 am

    You just can’t make this stuff up!


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