Attorney General Schmidt Asks Supreme Court To Uphold Ag Trespass Law

November 19, 2021

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold a Kansas agriculture trespass law that protects private property rights. In a petition for writ of certiorari filed last week, Schmidt requested the court review an August ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit that the law was unconstitutional.  

The lower court held that a Kansas statute providing for enhanced criminal penalties when a person obtains access to an animal facility by deception and with the intent to cause harm violates the First Amendment rights of trespassers. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit has upheld a similar Iowa law, creating a split of opinions among federal appeals courts. 

“Kansas enacted this law to add an additional layer of protection regarding unauthorized access to agricultural facilities and to help improve security measures against those who seek to disrupt the food supply,” Schmidt said. “Animal agriculture is vitally important to our state's economic well-being. We are hopeful the U.S. Supreme Court will recognize the need to provide clarity on this subject and afford Kansas agriculture producers protections available in our sister states.”