Looks like the Supreme Court tackled the easier of the two remaining takings cases first. This morning, the Court issued a unanimous opinion, authored by Justice Thomas, reversing the Ninth Circuit and holding that federal courts have jurisdiction to hear a property owner's defense in a case where the agency has imposed or seeks to impose a fine, that doing so would be a taking. Horne v. U.S. Dep't of Agriculture, No. 12-123 (June 10, 2013).
Yes, this is the California raisin case, for those of you who have been following along. The Court held that the takings defense was properly raised by the Hornes in their capacity as raisin "handlers."
We're reviewing the opinion now, and will have some further thoughts once we do. We predicted the Court would overturn the Ninth Circuit, but it looks like we were off the mark when we guessed that it might turn on a purely procedural issue. But the result is the same: remand to the Ninth Circuit for a decision on the merits. Whether this means en banc review, or a revival of the Ninth Circuit's first opinion holding there was no taking, remains to be seen.
That makes two unanimous takings opinions from the Court this term, both in favor of the property owners, and against the federal government. What does this tell you?Horne v. U.S. Dep't of Agriculture, No. 12-123 (June 10, 2013)