SUPREME COURT RULES IN FAVOR OF COMMODITY AD PROGRAMS
Decision Impacts Beef, Pork, Milk, Cotton and Other Industries
SUPREME COURT TO HEAR BEEF AD PROGRAM CASE
To Determine If Mandatory Marketing Fees Are Unconstitutional
COURT RULING STRIKES DOWN MILK AD EFFORT
Ad Campaign Assessments Found Unconstitutional
BEEF AD PROGRAM RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL
Mandatory Fees Paid for 'Beef. It's What's for Dinner' Campaign
PORK AD FEES RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL
Hog Farmer Assessments Raised Millions for Ad Buys Each Year
In an order today, the court remanded one case involving advertising for alligator-skin products and two cases for well-known ad campaigns, that of the pork producers and “The other white meat” effort and the milk checkoff that funds the “Got milk?” ads, back to lower courts to reconsider in light of last week’s ruling.
While it would appear that the challenges from the likes of dairy farmers and hog farmers are now most likely to be dismissed, the Supreme Court in its opinion on the beef industry campaign ("Beef. It's what's for dinner") made clear that among the reasons that it ruled that campaign represented government speech was that it was overseen by the Secretary of Agriculture and no evidence was presented suggesting consumers viewed the campaign as anything other than government speech.
Up to lower courts
The lower courts will have to resolve whether those same conditions are true regarding the other programs.
Steve Smith, a lawyer for the Institute of Justice, which is representing farmers challenging the milk industry assessment, said the high court left a number of avenues to pursue for his case. He said there is stronger arguments in the milk campaign that the long-running ad effort isn’t from the government, and that the checkoff forces dairy farmers to join dairy associations they don’t want to join, a new issue not raised during the earlier appellate court ruling.