Grape Commission Found Constitutional

Federal Court Rules in Favor of Commission on Multiple Grounds

Apr 01, 2008, 01:00 ET from The California Table Grape Commission

    FRESNO, Calif., April 1, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The law
 establishing the California Table Grape Commission and authorizing its
 programs is constitutional, according to a Federal District Court ruling.
 In a 194-page decision, United States District Court Judge Oliver Wanger
 rejected a First Amendment challenge to the commission's programs because
 it concluded that the speech of the commission, a creation of the state
 legislature, is that of the government and therefore immune from
 constitutional challenge.
     In addition, Judge Wanger reviewed the wide range of research, market
 access, issue management and education programs conducted by the commission
 and concluded that the commission's advertising program, which the
 plaintiffs alleged was unconstitutional, is part of the commission's
 broader efforts to increase demand for California table grapes and is
 therefore constitutional.
     "This is an important victory for California's fresh grape industry,"
 said 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
     The commission is funded with assessments on each box of commercially
 produced grapes shipped in California. The ruling in favor of the
 commission is a critical decision in litigation that began in the fall of
     "Legally, the plaintiffs now have the right to appeal this decision and
 continue the litigation," said commission legal counsel Seth Waxman. "As a
 practical matter, however, this is a comprehensive and well-reasoned
 decision that rules in the commission's favor on multiple grounds."
     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.

SOURCE The California Table Grape Commission