Benjamin I. Sachs, Safety, Health, and Union Access in Cedar Point Nursery, 2021 Supreme Ct. Rev. 99 (2022).
Abstract: In Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid, the Supreme Court holds that a California regulation granting union organizers limited access rights to agricultural property interferes with the property owners’ right to exclude and therefore constitutes a per se physical taking. But the Court also decides that there are exceptions to its per se takings rule. Most relevant, the Court holds that the government, without effecting a taking, can require property owners to cede access rights as a condition of receiving benefits or in order to avoid a risk posed to the public, as long as the benefits conveyed or the risks avoided constitute a legitimate police power purpose and as long as the access condition bears an essential nexus and rough proportionality to that purpose. This essay shows that Cedar Point is wrong on its own terms because the union access provision that the Court holds to be a taking fits comfortably within the Court’s exception to its takings rule. This is so for two reasons. One, the access regulation – and the general labor statute it implemented – was part of California’s approach to ending violence that had come to define agricultural union organizing in the 1960s and 1970s, violence so rampant that many contemporaries described it as “war.” Two, the access provision facilitated the negotiation of collective bargaining agreements containing robust mechanisms for pesticide safety, pesticides whose use posed a dire threat to farmworker and consumer health. Understood this way, the access provision is germane to two quintessential police power purposes: public safety and health. Moreover, the limited access rights provided by the regulation bear a clear nexus to those purposes and are, to say the least, roughly proportional to the costs they help avoid.