Takings of Private Property for Public Use

Eminent Domain: A Comparative Perspective by Professor Ilya Somin, et al.

Environmental Law & Property Rights Practice Group Teleforum Friday, July 14, 01:00 PMFederalist Society Teleforum Conference Call

The taking of private property for development projects has caused controversy in many nations, where it has often been used to benefit powerful interests at the expense of the general public. In their recent book, Eminent Domain: A Comparative Perspective (Cambridge University Press), editors Ilya Somin, Iljoong Kim,and Hojun Lee use a common framework to analyze the law and economics of eminent domain around the world. They show that seemingly disparate nations face a common set of problems in seeking to regulate the condemnation of private property by the state. They include the tendency to forcibly displace the poor and politically weak for the benefit of those with greater influence, disputes over compensation, and resort to condemnation in cases where it destroys more economic value than it creates. With contributions from leading scholars in the fields of property law and economics, the book offers a comparative perspective and considers a wide range of possible solutions to these problems. Professor Richard Epstein and Professor Ilya Somin will join us to discuss this interesting book.


  • Professor Richard A. Epstein, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law, New York University School of Law

  • Professor Ilya Somin, Professor of Law, Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University

Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council at 25 - Podcast

Environmental Law & Property Rights Practice Group Podcast
James S. Burling, Eric R. Claeys, Michael A. Wolf April 07, 2017

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?  


  • James S. Burling, Vice President of Litigation, Pacific Legal Foundation
  • Professor Eric R. Claeys, Professor of Law, Antonin Scalia Law School Professor 
  • Michael A. Wolf, Professor of Law, Richard E. Nelson Chair in Local Government, University of Florida Levin College of Law

Courthouse Steps: Supreme Court Oral Arguments in Murr v. Wisconsin - Podcast

Environmental Law & Property Rights Podcast
James S. Burling, Misha Tseytlin March 22, 2017

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. 


  • James S. Burling, Vice President of Litigation, Pacific Legal Foundation
  • Misha Tseytlin, Solicitor General for the State of Wisconsin

Murr v. Wisconsin: The Regulatory Taking Case

Short video featuring Eric Claeys
Eric R. Claeys March 17, 2017

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.