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Supreme Court reviews beef checkoff case

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments today in the widely publicized case challenging the constitutionality of the national beef checkoff. The case is an appeal of a July 2003 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit that found the Beef Promotion and Research Act in violation of the First Amendment.

Defendants in the case are the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) and Nebraska Cattlemen, while plaintiffs include the Livestock Marketing Association (LMA), the Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC) and three individuals from an earlier petition.

According to a Nebraska Cattlemen release, the high court is expected to reach a decision on the beef checkoff sometime during the first part of 2005.

CBB Chairman Nelson Curry said he expects a ruling soon.

"Now we’re in the final stretch of this case, and the decision rests in the hands of the justices of the Supreme Court," Curry said. "That could come down anytime between now and the end of June."

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