U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Solicitor General Theodore B. Olson filed a petition Feb. 19 for a writ of certiorari, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review and overturn a lower court's ruling declaring the pork checkoff unconstitutional.

On Oct. 23, 2003, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld a 2002 ruling by a Michigan federal judge that the pork checkoff is unconstitutional, in the case of the U.S. Department of Agriculture vs. the Campaign for Family Farms (CCF).

CCF has until March 22 to respond to the DOJ filing. CCF is arguing that the checkoff program violates the First Amendment rights of producers who disagree with promotional messages paid for by the checkoff.