Somin in National Law Journal on Pending Supreme Court Cases

In a National Law Journal article, Professor Ilya Somin comments on major cases that remain to be decided by the Supreme Court before it goes into summer recess. Among them are the health care case King v. Burwell, same-sex marriage case Obergefell v. Hodges, and property rights case Horne v. U.S. Department of Agriculture.


Ilya Somin of George Mason University School of Law is waiting for a potentially major property rights decision in Horne v. U.S. Department of Agriculture, a challenge by a raisin producer to a Depression-era government program requiring the set-aside of a portion of raisin crops to maintain their prices.

The federal government has made, and the lower court has endorsed, several "dangerous" arguments, Somin said—including that the takings clause does not protect personal property as much as real property. "If allowed to stand, it’s dangerous and also contrary to text, history and precedent," he said.

The government has said that, even if it is a taking in some sense, it owes no compensation because the raisin producers benefit by the program.

"That, too, is dangerous beyond this context," Somin said. "If it turns out that is a 7-2 or 9-0 decision against the government, it will be part of a pattern in which the Obama administration has suffered lopsided defeats in property cases, and the Supreme Court will show it is not treating property rights as second-class rights, as it did for a long time."

Major Decisions Remain as Supreme Court Term Winds Down, National Law Journal, May 13, 2015. By Marcia Coyle.

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