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Supreme Court of the United States
April 24, 1984, Argued ; June 4, 1984, Decided
[*341] [***273] [**2451] JUSTICE O'CONNOR delivered the opinion of the Court.
[****4] ] This case presents the question whether ultimate consumers of dairy products may obtain judicial review of milk market orders [**2452] issued by the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretary) under the authority of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 (Act), ch. 296, 50 Stat. 246, as amended, 7 U. S. C. § 601 et seq. We conclude that consumers may not obtain judicial review of such orders.
In the early 1900's, dairy farmers engaged in intense competition in the production of fluid milk products. See Zuber v. Allen, 396 U.S. 168, 172-176 (1969). To bring this destabilizing competition under control, the 1937 Act authorizes the Secretary to issue milk market orders setting the minimum prices that handlers (those who process dairy products) [*342] must pay to producers (dairy farmers) for their milk products. 7 U. S. C. § 608c. The "essential purpose [of this milk market order scheme is] to raise producer prices," S. Rep. No. 1011, 74th Cong., 1st Sess., 3 (1935), and thereby to ensure that the benefits and burdens of the milk market are fairly and proportionately shared by all dairy farmers. See Nebbia v. New York, 291 U.S. 502, 517-518 (1934). [****5]
] Under the scheme established by Congress, the Secretary must conduct an appropriate rulemaking proceeding before issuing a milk market order. The public must be notified of these proceedings and provided an opportunity for public hearing and comment. See 7 U. S. C. § 608c(3). An order may be issued only if the evidence adduced at the hearing shows "that [it] will tend to effectuate the declared policy of this chapter with respect to such commodity." 7 U. S. C. § 608c(4). Moreover, before any market order may become effective, [***274] it must be approved by the handlers of at least 50% of the volume of milk covered by the proposed order and at least two-thirds of the affected dairy producers in the region. 7 U. S. C. §§ 608c(8), 608c(5)(B)(i). If the handlers withhold their consent, the Secretary may nevertheless impose the order. But the Secretary's power to do so is conditioned upon at least two-thirds of the producers consenting to its promulgation and upon his making an administrative determination that the order is "the only practical means of advancing the interests of the producers." 7 U. S. C. § 608c(9)(B).
The Secretary currently has some 45 milk market orders in [****6] effect. See 7 CFR pts. 1001-1139 (1984). Each order covers a different region of the country, and collectively they cover most, though not all, of the United States. The orders divide dairy products into separately priced classes based on the uses to which raw milk is put. See 44 Fed. Reg. 65990 (1979). Raw milk that is processed and bottled for fluid consumption is termed "Class I" milk. Raw milk that is used to [*343] produce milk products such as butter, cheese, or dry milk powder is termed "Class II" milk. 1
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
467 U.S. 340 *; 104 S. Ct. 2450 **; 81 L. Ed. 2d 270 ***; 1984 U.S. LEXIS 97 ****; 52 U.S.L.W. 4697
BLOCK, SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, ET AL. v. COMMUNITY NUTRITION INSTITUTE ET AL.
Prior History: [****1] CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT.
Disposition: 225 U. S. App. D. C. 387, 698 F.2d 1239, reversed.
milk, judicial review, consumers, marketing order, producers, dairy, preclusion, products, suits, intent of congress, statutory scheme, milk product, administrative remedy, district court, administrative action, favoring, prices, region, fluid, clear and convincing evidence, legislative history, reconstituted, realization, behest, orders
Administrative Law, Judicial Review, Reviewability, Standing, Business & Corporate Compliance, Governments, Agriculture & Food, Product Promotions, Agency Rulemaking, General Overview, Commodity Exchange Act, Preclusion, Environmental Law, Administrative Proceedings & Litigation, Judicial Review, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation, Agency Adjudication, Alternative Dispute Resolution