U.S. Supreme Court

Case Status


Docket Number


2014 Term

Oral Argument Date

April 22, 2015


Questions Presented

1. Whether the government’s “categorical duty” under the Fifth Amendment to pay just compensation when it “physically takes possession of  an interest in property,” Arkansas Game & Fish  Comm’n v. United States, 133 S. Ct. 511, 518 (2012), applies only to real property and not to personal property;

2. Whether the government may avoid the categorical duty to pay just compensation for a physical taking of property by reserving to the property owner a contingent interest in a portion of the value of the property, set at the government’s discretion;

3. Whether a governmental mandate to relinquish  specific, identifiable property as a “condition” on  permission to engage in commerce effects a per se taking.

Case Updates

U.S. Supreme Court affirms protections against uncompensated takings

June 22, 2015

The Supreme Court held that a federal program requiring raisin farmers to turn over nearly half of their crop to the government for little or no compensation violates the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

In its decision, the Court announced three legal holdings that strengthen property rights for business and individuals. First, the Court ruled that the full protections of the Takings Clause apply to “personal property,” not just “real property.” Second, the Court clarified that the Takings Clause applies to situations where the government requires an individual or business to pass legal title of property to the government, even if the property itself has not yet been transferred to the government. Third, the Court ruled that the ability to participate in interstate commerce is not a “benefit” that the government may withhold unless an individual or business agrees to give up other constitutional rights.

U.S. Chamber files amicus brief

March 09, 2015

The U.S. Chamber filed a brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to clarify that the “per se” Takings Clause doctrine applies to personal physical property and that regulators may not “condition” a business’s participation in interstate commerce on ceding property rights. The case arises out of a long-running dispute between California raisin farmers and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which relied on a Great Depression-era price control statute to compel the farmers to give the government up to half of their raisin crops, for little to no compensation. The Ninth Circuit ruled that the “Raisin Marketing Order” at issue did not constitute a “per se” physical taking because the “per se” doctrine applies only to real property, not personal property. The Ninth Circuit also ruled that the government had lawfully conditioned the sale of raisins in interstate commerce on participation in the forfeiture program and that, therefore, the raisin farmers need only abandon raisin farming to avoid the “use restriction.” The Chamber warned that the Ninth Circuit’s decision diluting the “per se” physical takings doctrine will have serious negative effects on property rights nationwide and that the court’s “use restriction” theory guts protections for personal property.

Cert. petition granted

January 16, 2015

U.S. Chamber urges Supreme Court to review protections against uncompensated takings

October 08, 2014

The Chamber asked the Supreme Court to review a Ninth Circuit decision and clarify whether the Raisin Marketing Orders violate the Takings Clause. The amicus brief states that in this matter, on remand from its prior reversal in the Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit again sharply departed from the Court’s longstanding takings jurisprudence, adopting a dangerous new test that slashes property rights protections which should ensure that property owners retain an adequate, efficient, and prompt remedy against government takings of real and personal property. The brief argues that the Ninth Circuit's decision threatens private property rights in a broad range of contexts, and creates dangerous incentives for the government to disguise traditional takings. Personal property is no less at risk of government interference—and thus no less deserving of the certainty and predictability provided by a per se rule or physical takings—than real property. Finally, the Chamber points out that the Court’s review is urgently warranted in order to reaffirm that a taking occurs whenever the government physically occupies or appropriates private property, and to avert dire effects on business interests and private property rights nationwide by inviting governments to reframe appropriations as mere “use restrictions.”

John P. Elwood and Jeremy C. Marwell of Vinson & Elkins LLP represented the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as co-counsel to the U.S. Chamber Litigation Center.

Case Documents