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Government May Not Force Mushroom Growers to Pay for Mushroom Advertising
Description Appeals court held that the 1990 Mushroom Act, which allows the Department of Agriculture to force mushroom growers to contribute funds for advertisements for mushrooms, is unconstitutional. Since there is no comprehensive regulatory scheme over mushrooms, the government has no compelling interest to force such payments.
Topic Constitutional Law
Key Words Freedom of Speech; Forced Payments; Advertising
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts The Department of Agriculture required United Foods, as a mushroom producer, to contribute funds for advertising mushrooms as authorized by the Mushroom Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act of 1990. United sued the government, claiming this violated its First Amendment rights. The district court upheld the Act and the forced payments; United appealed.
Decision Reversed, the portions of the Act that authorized forced payments are unconstitutional. In 1997 the Supreme Court upheld a similar forced payment advertising scheme for California peaches, plums and nectarines, in the Wileman case. That differs because those products are highly regulated already and the payments for advertising are part of a comprehensive regulatory scheme. "Mushrooms are unregulated. Hence the compelled commercial speech is not a price the members must pay ... to further their self-interest which is regarded as arising from heavy regulation through the marketing orders controlling price, supply and quantity."
Citation United Foods, Inc. v. U.S., - F.3d - (1999 WL 1054778, 6th Cir.)

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