Justices side with government in property rights case

Justice Anthony Kennedy, joining the court's liberal members in Friday's opinion, called the government's action "a reasonable land-use regulation" meant to preserve the St. Croix River and surrounding land. "Although the outcome was not what we had hoped for, we believe our case will demonstrate the importance of taking a stand and protecting property rights through the court system when necessary".

Taking all those factors into account, the Murrs "have not been deprived of all economically beneficial use of their property", Kennedy said. United States, it correctly found that a criminal defendant who had virtually no chance to win at trial-absent jury nullifcation, which was our focus-was still prejudiced by (and entitled to a new trial due to) his counsel's wrong advice that he wouldn't be deported if he pled guilty.

"I would stick with our traditional approach: State law defines the boundaries of distinct parcels of land, and those boundaries should determine the private property at issue in regulatory takings cases", Roberts said. Courts must strive for consistency with the central goal of the Takings Clause: to 'bar Government from forcing some people alone to bear public burdens which, in all fairness and justice, should be borne by the public as a whole.' Armstrong, 364 U.

Citing zoning regulations, county officials told them it was too small to develop and they would have to sell it with the adjacent lot.

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In dissent, Chief Justice John Roberts said the majority had undermined the Constitution's protections for private property owners.

Justice Neil Gorsuch took no part in considering or deciding the case. A city ordinance requires that two adjacent parcels be considered one when totaling under one acre, an ordinance the Murrs challenged as a regulatory taking.

Several western states filed amicus briefs in the case on behalf of the Murr family (as did the Reason Foundation, which publishes this blog). But their local governments may well feel the bureaucrats have more right to say what happens to these properties than the owners do.

Donna Murr responded to the ruling on behalf of herself and her family.

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Supreme Court rules against property owners...

The 5-3 ruling rejected the Murr family's argument that conservation rules unfairly stripped the land of its value and restricted their use of the property, in Troy Township south of Hudson, Wis.

The family sought to sell the vacant parcel in order to pay for upgrades to the cabin, but were prevented from doing so by St. Croix County. The property was appraised at $400,000 before the Murrs tried to sell it. "But the Murrs can not". Solicitor Misha Tseytlin said that legal link exists between the two Murr properties and that's what combines them into one in the government's eye.

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