Raisin farmers are asking the Supreme Court to stop the government from seizing part of their crop every year for the National Raisin Reserve.
Wait — there’s a National Raisin Reserve? Yes, the United States has a National Raisin Reserve.
The National Raisin Reserve — which is overseen by the Fresno-based Raisin Administrative Committee — is part of post-World War II-era program that forces raisin producers to give part of their annual crop to the government to prevent an oversupply of the dried fruit. Controversially, the program seizes the raisins from the farmers without paying them, and that has created friction, lawbreaking farmers, and a Supreme Court case. One scofflaw farmer, Marvin Horne, has refused to surrender his raisins to the government and owes hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and over 1 million pounds of the sweet dried fruit to Uncle Sam.
The Volokh Conspiracy’s Ilya Somin says that, “essentially, the scheme is a government-enforced cartel under which producers restrict production so as to inflate prices.” Shockingly, she also reports that defending that cartel did not go well for the government during oral arguments.
(via Tyler Cowen)