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.
|Johanns v. Livestock Marketing Association|
|Argued December 8, 2004|
Decided May 23, 2005
|Full case name||Mike Johanns, Secretary of Agriculture, et al v. Livestock Marketing Association, et al|
|Citations||544 U.S. 550 (more)|
|Prior||Judgment 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|
|Majority||Scalia, joined by Rehnquist, O'Connor, Thomas, Breyer|
|Dissent||Souter, joined by Stevens, Kennedy|
|U.S. Const. amend. I|
Facts and prior history
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.
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.
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.
The case is starting another trip through the courts, starting in Montana with Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund v. Sonny Perdue. Only five percent of cattlemen are members of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association that collects and spends ninety percent of beef checkoff dollars.
- Johanns v. Livestock Marketing Association, 544 U.S. 550 (2005).
- Livestock Marketing Association v. USDA, 335 F.3d 711 (8th Cir. 2003).
- Flynn, Dan (Oct 10, 2016). "Beef Checkoff goes on the griddle Tuesday in Montana". Food Safety News. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
- Cleveland, John Connor (November 21, 2016). "Animal Advocacy in the Age of Trump". National Review. Retrieved 13 Aug 2017.