Hillside Dairy Inc. v. Lyons, 539 U.S. 59, 3 (2003)

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Cite as: 539 U. S. 59 (2003)

Opinion of the Court

McCallum, Deputy Solicitor General Kneedler, and Mark B. Stern.

Mark J. Urban argued the cause for respondents in both cases. With him on the brief were Bill Lockyer, Attorney General of California, Manuel M. Medeiros, State Solicitor General, Richard M. Frank, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Bruce F. Reeves and Mark J. Urban, Deputy Attorneys General, and Andrea Hackett Henningsen.

Justice Stevens delivered the opinion of the Court.

In most of the United States, not including California, the minimum price paid to dairy farmers producing raw milk is regulated pursuant to federal marketing orders. Those orders guarantee a uniform price for the producers, but through pooling mechanisms require the processors of different classes of dairy products to pay different prices. Thus, for example, processors of fluid milk pay a premium price, part of which goes into an equalization pool that provides a partial subsidy for cheese manufacturers who pay a net price that is lower than the farmers receive. See West Lynn Creamery, Inc. v. Healy, 512 U. S. 186, 189, n. 1 (1994).

The California Legislature has adopted a similar program to regulate the minimum prices paid by California processors to California producers. In the cases before us today, outof-state producers are challenging the constitutionality of a 1997 amendment to that program. They present us with two questions: (1) whether 144 of the Federal Agriculture

†Briefs of amici curiae urging reversal were filed for the State of Nevada et al. by Brian Sandoval, Attorney General of Nevada, and by the Attorneys General for their respective States as follows: Mike Hatch of Minnesota, Mike McGrath of Montana, Hardy Myers of Oregon, Christine O. Gregoire of Washington, and Peggy A. Lautenschlager of Wisconsin; for Continental Dairy Products, Inc., et al. by Benjamin F. Yale; and for the Dairy Institute of California by Thomas S. Knox.

John J. Vlahos filed a brief for Western United Dairymen as amicus curiae urging affirmance.


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