Goodlatte Pleased with Supreme Court Decision Allowing Beef Checkoff Program

May 23, 2005

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Chairman Goodlatte praised the U.S. Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision upholding the Beef Promotion and Research Act of 1985 (also known as the Beef Checkoff Program) and rejecting a U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that it was unconstitutional.


Goodlatte and other legislators filed a friends of the court brief with the Supreme Court in 2004 taking issue with the U.S. appeals court ruling that the Beef Checkoff Program violated the free-speech rights of the ranchers who filed the initial challenge. The brief held that the Beef Act’s generic promotion program is government speech unconstrained by the First Amendment.

“Congress has traditionally supported the Beef Checkoff Program and this is the second time the Supreme Court has ruled in its favor,” said Goodlatte. “It is gratifying the Supreme Court has issued this ruling, reaffirming beef producers’ rights to work together for their own common good.”

According to USDA, the Beef Checkoff Program will continue without interruption. In the meantime, USDA will be reviewing the decision to determine its implications for other first amendment challenges to checkoff programs.