Important Victory for Private Property Rights in the U.S. Supreme Court
June 27, 2019
On June 21, 2019, the Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated decision in Knick v. Township of Scott. The Legal Helpdesk previously wrote about that case here. In a 5-4 decision with Chief Justice John Roberts writing for the majority, the Court held that a property owner may bring a Fifth Amendment takings claim directly in a federal court, rather than having to go to state court first. The Court overruled a previous case (Williamson County v. Hamilton Bank) that held takings claims were not “ripe” for consideration by federal courts until they had first gone through litigation at the state level.
In addition, and in a somewhat unexpected win for private property owners everywhere, the Court found that for a taking not to violate the Fifth Amendment, the government actor that is doing the taking must pay “just compensation” to the landowner either in advance of the taking or contemporaneous to the taking. If the government does not do so, the property owner may file suit in federal court (pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983) to force the government to pay the compensation owed.
You may be interested to know that the National Association of REALTORS® has issued a statement in support of the decision, which you can view here.