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Federal judge bars enforcement of Nebraska corporate farm ban pending high court appeal

[JURIST] A federal judge in Nebraska ruled Friday that the state cannot enforce a 25-year old ban on corporate farming while it appeals a US Eighth Circuit Court of Appeal decision ruling the ban unconstitutional. As anticipated [JURIST report], Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning [official website] appealed [cert. petition, PDF] the ruling to the US Supreme Court earlier this month.

In December, the Eighth Circuit upheld [PDF text; JURIST report] a lower court decision holding the 1982 voter-endorsed ban on corporate farming unconstitutional because it violates the dormant commerce clause. As described by the appeals court, the ban "prohibits corporations or syndicates (non-family-owned limited partnerships) from acquiring an interest in 'real estate used for farming or ranching in [Nebraska]' or 'engag[ing] in farming or ranching,' with certain exceptions," and the appeals court found that this "discriminates against out-of-state entities both on its face and because of its discriminatory intent." AP has more.

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