Court says Table Grape Commission is constitutional
April 2, 2008
• Says it does not violate First Amendment
• ‘An important victory for California's fresh grape industry’
The California Table Grape Commission says a federal judge says it’s legal.
The Fresno-based marketing group says U.S. District Court Judge Oliver Wanger has rejected a First Amendment challenge to the commission's programs.
The decision says the “speech” of the commission, a creation of the state legislature, is that of the government and thus immune from constitutional challenge.
In addition, the commission's advertising program, which was challenged as unconstitutional, is part of the commission's broader efforts to increase demand for California table grapes and is therefore constitutional, the commission says of the ruling.
"This is an important victory for California's fresh grape industry," says commission President Kathleen Nave. "Since 1967, the clear majority of California's fresh grape farmers have voted every five years to continue funding the commission. This decision affirms their right to work together for the benefit of not just the entire industry but the entire state of California."
The commission is funded with assessments on each box of commercially produced grapes shipped in California. The ruling in favor of the commission comes from litigation that began in the fall of 1996.
The California Table Grape Commission was created by the California legislature in 1967 to increase worldwide demand for fresh California grapes through a variety of research and promotional programs.