Land Use

Public Land Controversy: The States v. The Federal Government - Podcast

Environmental Law & Property Rights and Federalism & Separation of Powers Practice Groups Podcast
Donald J. Kochan, David Garbett June 25, 2014

public lands mapControversies over jurisdiction and management of public lands are building. Whether grazing rights disputes in Nevada or New Mexico, alarm over federal disinterest in long recognized local partnerships for management of multi-use lands, BLM review of millions of acres to balance factors like environmental justice, and complaints of forest maintenance hazards, states are increasingly concerned. Western states contend that return of public lands to state control would generate a North Dakota-like renaissance of jobs, access to resources, and economic activity. Several Western states are investigating the legal basis for challenging federal retention of these public multi-use lands as described in state charter enabling acts. The state of Utah now has statutory authority to sue the federal government for return of its lands in January, 2015. How sound is the legal case, and what are the economic implications for the Western states -- as well as the country in general? What are the environmental policy issues and is state stewardship of these lands best?

  • Hon. Ken Ivory, State Representative, Utah House of Representatives
  • Prof. Donald J. Kochan, Professor of Law, Chapman University School of Law
  • Carl Graham, Director, Center for Self-Government in the West, Sutherland Institute
  • David Garbett, Staff Counsel, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance

Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District and Its Implications for Takings Law

Engage Volume 14, Issue 3 October 2013
Brian T. Hodges February 28, 2014

Supreme CourtThe U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District is one of the most significant and decisive victories for property owners in decades. In broad terms, the Court’s opinion recognizes that the Takings Clause of the U.S. Constitution places strict limits on the all-too-common municipal practice of exacting money from land-use applicants to fund unrelated public projects. The decision holds that the government cannot use the land-use permit process to compel landowners to give up land, money, or any other property as the “price” of obtaining development approval, unless the government can show that its demand is necessary to mitigate some harmful impact caused by the proposed land use....[Read Now!]

Unresolved Takings Questions Following the October 2012 Supreme Court Term - Podcast

Environmental Law & Property Rights Practice Group Podcast
James S. Burling, Steven J. Eagle, Thomas W. Merrill, Dean A. Reuter September 18, 2013

Supreme Court frontThe United States Supreme Court issued three notable takings decisions during the October 2012 term in Koontz v. St. Johns Water Management DistrictArkansas Game & Fish Commission v. United States, and Horne v. Department of Agriculture. Our experts will discuss these opinions and the questions that they leave unresolved ahead of the 2013 term.


  • James S. Burling, Director of Litigation, Pacific Legal Foundation
  • Prof. Steven J. Eagle, Professor of Law, George Mason University School of Law
  • Prof. Thomas W. Merrill, Charles Evans Hughes Professor of Law, Columbia Law School
  • Moderator: Dean Reuter, Vice President and Director of Practice Groups, The Federalist Society

[Listen now!]

Recent Developments in Public Use Law - Podcast

Environmental Law & Property Rights Practice Group Podcast
James W. Ely, Ilya Somin, Dean A. Reuter July 31, 2013

Recent Developments in Public Use LawOur experts discuss recent developments in property takings and public use law in state legislation, and state and federal judicial decisions. Among other issues, they also discuss the broader context of these developments in relationship to the history of judicial and legislative attitudes towards property rights.


  • Prof. James W. Ely Jr., Milton R. Underwood Professor of Law Emeritus, Vanderbilt University Law School
  • Prof. Ilya Somin, Professor of Law, George Mason University School of Law
  • Moderator: Mr. Dean A. Reuter, Vice President & Director of Practice Groups, The Federalist Society

[Listen now!]