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7th Circuit addresses challenges under the RFA

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment in favor of the United States Department of Agriculture in a suit challenging the agency's rulemaking process and amendment to a milk marketing order. It was the first time the 7th Circuit had addressed who could bring a challenge to a regulatory flexibility analysis or certification under the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

The case, White Eagle Cooperative Association, et al. v. Charles F. Conner, acting secretary, United States Department of Agriculture, et al.,No. 07-3545, was filed by White Eagle Cooperative Association, a cooperative made up of milk producers, after the USDA amended the Mideast Milk Marketing Order. The Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act ensures producers receive a uniform minimum price for their product, regardless of how it is used; however, the AMAA only protects handlers, who prepare milk for resale. The country is divided into regional areas and governed by milk-marketing orders; White Eagle is part of the Mideast order. The orders provide the details for fixing and enforcing minimum prices handlers have to pay for the milk they buy on a monthly basis.

White Eagle challenged the regulation of diversion limits, which are the maximum percentage a handler can divert to plants that don't participate in the standards under the order. Limits prevent the inclusion in the pool of participating plants of excessive quantities of milk diverted to non-pool plants, which affects the prices paid. After hearing public comments on the issue, the USDA reduced diversion limits.

White Eagle filed suit, alleging various violations, including the USDA violated the Regulatory Flexibility Act by failing to undertake an analysis under the RFA and not supporting its RFA certification with any facts.

The 7th Circuit looked to decisions from the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia on the RFA issue to adopt the rule that small entities directly regulated by the proposed statute may bring a challenge to the RFA analysis or certification of an agency. Because the amendment to the order concerning diversion limits expressly regulates only the handlers' conduct, White Eagle, as a producer, doesn't have standing to challenge the analysis under the RFA, wrote Judge Kenneth Ripple.

The 7th Circuit also affirmed the grant of summary judgment in favor of the USDA on White Eagle's other alleged violations by the USDA of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act, the USDA's rules of practice, the Administrative Procedure Act, and the Fifth Amendment's Due Process Clause. The USDA's adoption of the present order wasn't arbitrary or capricious and the agency considered relevant evidence in adopting the current rule, wrote the judge.

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  1. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  2. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  3. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

  4. If it were your child that died maybe you'd be more understanding. Most of us don't have graves to visit. My son was killed on a state road and I will be putting up a memorial where he died. It gives us a sense of peace to be at the location he took his last breath. Some people should be more understanding of that.

  5. Can we please take notice of the connection between the declining state of families across the United States and the RISE OF CPS INVOLVEMENT??? They call themselves "advocates" for "children's rights", however, statistics show those children whom are taken from, even NEGLIGENT homes are LESS likely to become successful, independent adults!!! Not to mention the undeniable lack of respect and lack of responsibility of the children being raised today vs the way we were raised 20 years ago, when families still existed. I was born in 1981 and I didn't even ever hear the term "CPS", in fact, I didn't even know they existed until about ten years ago... Now our children have disagreements between friends and they actually THREATEN EACH OTHER WITH, "I'll call CPS" or "I'll have [my parent] (usually singular) call CPS"!!!! And the truth is, no parent is perfect and we all have flaws and make mistakes, but it is RIGHTFULLY OURS - BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS GREAT NATION - to be imperfect. Let's take a good look at what kind of parenting those that are stealing our children are doing, what kind of adults are they producing? WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN RIPPED FROM THEIR FAMILY AND THAT CHILD'S SUCCESS - or otherwise - AS AN ADULT.....

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