Johanns v. Livestock Marketing Association

Johanns v. Livestock Marketing Association, 544 U.S. 550 (2005), is a First Amendment case of the Supreme Court of the United States. At issue was whether a beef producer could be compelled to contribute to beef industry advertising.[1]

Johanns v. Livestock Marketing Association
Argued December 8, 2004
Decided May 23, 2005
Full case nameMike Johanns, Secretary of Agriculture, et al v. Livestock Marketing Association, et al'
Docket no.03-1164
Citations544 U.S. 550 (more)
125 S. Ct. 2055; 161 L. Ed. 2d 896; 2005 U.S. LEXIS 4343
ArgumentOral argument
Case history
PriorJudgment for Respondents, 207 F. Supp. 2d 992 (D.S.D. 2002); affirmed, 335 F.3d 711 (8th Cir. 2003); cert. granted, 541 U.S. 1062 (2004).
Check-offs fund government speech; the government cannot be sued under the First Amendment
Court membership
Chief Justice
William Rehnquist
Associate Justices
John P. Stevens · Sandra Day O'Connor
Antonin Scalia · Anthony Kennedy
David Souter · Clarence Thomas
Ruth Bader Ginsburg · Stephen Breyer
Case opinions
MajorityScalia, joined by Rehnquist, O'Connor, Thomas, Breyer
DissentSouter, joined by Stevens, Kennedy
Laws applied
U.S. Const. amend. I

Facts and prior history edit

Congress charters commodity checkoff programs compelling all producers of certain commodities to contribute to common research and advertising programs. The beef industry is covered by the Beef Promotion and Research Act (1985). Cattle producers disagreeing with the fee and represented by the Livestock Marketing Association sued the Department of Agriculture (USDA) in federal district court. The respondents alleged the government-required fee for advertising was compelled speech and violated their First Amendment right to free speech. The USDA argued the advertising was government speech immune from First Amendment challenge.

The district court and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals had found for the Livestock Marketing Association previously, ruling that the program violated the First Amendment and that the advertising was compelled and not government speech.[2]

In a parallel petition (No. 03–1165), the Nebraska Cattlemen sided with the USDA and sued the Livestock Marketing Association. At the Supreme Court, the two cases were consolidated.

Court decision edit

The Supreme Court's decision was announced on May 23, 2005, and delivered by Justice Antonin Scalia. The decision was 6–3 in favor of the USDA's position. Check-offs would continue. Advertising by these industry groups was government speech, therefore there was no infringement of First Amendment rights.

Case revisited edit

The case is starting another trip through the courts, starting in Montana with Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund v. Sonny Perdue.[3]

The Cattlemen's Beef Board (CBB) and USDA oversee the collection and spending of checkoff funds. Additionally, all producers selling cattle or calves, for any reason and regardless of age or sex, must pay $1-per-head. The buyer generally is responsible for collecting $1-per-head from the seller, but both are responsible for seeing that the dollar is collected and paid.[4]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Johanns v. Livestock Marketing Association, 544 U.S. 550 (2005).
  2. ^ Livestock Marketing Association v. USDA, 335 F.3d 711 (8th Cir. 2003).
  3. ^ Flynn, Dan (Oct 10, 2016). "Beef Checkoff goes on the griddle Tuesday in Montana". Food Safety News. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  4. ^ "About the Beef Checkoff Program". Beef Checkoff. Retrieved 2020-09-20.

External links edit