We were in the neighborhood, so decided to drop in on today's Supreme Court oral arguments in Horne v. U.S.D.A., No. 14-275, the case about the taking of California raisins.
The arguments ended a few minutes ago, and here's our initial thoughts:
We'll have a full report on the arguments in the next day or so, once we come to rest. Until then, here's Mr. and Mrs. Horne speaking to the media after the arguments wrapped.
- The Leviathan of the regulatory state was on full display today, with the government arguing that the seizure of the raisins wasn't a taking, it was an "in-kind tax" and "just a standard regulation."
- The government actually argued that these regulations benefitted the Hornes, and that they were free to do other things with their grapes if they didn't like the raisin regulations and government seizure.
- The Monsanto and Leonard cases will figure prominently in the opinions. Read them again.
- Our initial tally: there's enough votes to find that the USDA cannot fine the Hornes for violating the regulations because to do so would be a taking. There might be enough votes to enter judgment to that effect in their favor now, but if a couple of the Justices go the way they seemed to be leaning, a remand to the Ninth Circuit might be in order.
- The scorecard: for the Hornes: the Chief Justice, and Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito. On the fence: Justice Kagan. For the Government: Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, and Sotomayor.