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- John Groen, General Counsel, Pacific Legal Foundation
This spring marks the 25th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council. In Lucas, a 5-4 Court majority held that a state law can effect a "regulatory taking" and trigger inverse condemnation requirements if it deprives an owner of all viable uses of his land. Join our panel to hear a discussion of questions such as: Did Lucas mark a major change in Supreme Court regulatory takings doctrine? Was the decision about right, or did it go too far or not far enough? Is Lucas still relevant to regulatory takings law today, and what are the chances that the decision might be reconsidered or extended?
On March 20, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Murr v. Wisconsin. This is a regulatory takings case which addresses the question: should two legally distinct but commonly owned contiguous parcels be combined, as described in Penn Central Transportation Company v. City of New York, for takings analysis purposes?
In 1960 and 1963, the Murrs purchased two adjacent lots in St. Croix County, Wisconsin, each over an acre in size. In 1994 and 1995, the parents transferred the parcels to their children. These lots became nonconforming due to various setbacks imposed in the 1970s, but a grandfathering provision would have allowed independent and separate uses – but only if the lots were not owned by the same individuals. Seven years later, the children wanted to sell one of the two original lots and were denied permission to do so by the St. Croix County Board of Adjustment. The Murrs sued the state and county and claimed the county’s actions resulted in an uncompensated taking of their property. The trial court granted summary judgement to the state and county and the Court of Appeals of Wisconsin affirmed.
James Burling, Vice President of Litigation at the Pacific Legal Foundation and Misha Tseytlin, the Solicitor General for the State of Wisconsin, will join us to discuss this interesting case and offer their thoughts following oral argument.
Has a family who has jointly owned two legally distinct pieces of land for decades suffered a regulatory taking if they can't build on one of the lots? Professor Eric Claeys of the Antonin Scalia Law School outlines the issues in the case of Murr v. Wisconsin, the result of which will impact the scope of regulatory takings liability and owners’ ability to make reasonable use of private property. Supreme Court oral argument: Monday, March 20, 2017.
In his nearly 30 years on the Court, Justice Scalia left a profound mark on many areas of the law, including property rights. From his seminal decisions in Nollan v. California Coastal Commission and Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council to his frequent questioning at oral argument, Justice Scalia helped define the relationship between property and the Constitution. While his critics have suggested that Justice Scalia's property rights jurisprudence manifested a willingness to engage in “judicial activism," others have defended Scalia's approach as consistent with original understandings of the text of the Constitution.
This panel will address Justice Scalia's influence on constitutional understandings of property rights. Professor Ely has written extensively on the historical understandings of property rights including the popular book, The Guardian of Every Other Right: A Constitutional History of Property Rights. Professor Somin's recently published The Grasping Hand: "Kelo V. City of New London" and the Limits of Eminent Domain explores one of the Court's most notorious departures from the protection of property rights. Professor Hills is a renowned expert on the law of land use planning and has taken a more charitable view of the power of government to control the use of property. He is a co-author of Land Use Controls: Cases and Materials. The panel will be moderated by Justice Allison Eid, from the Colorado Supreme Court.
Environmental Law & Property Rights: Justice Scalia's Property Rights Jurisprudence
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
The Mayflower Hotel