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In Property Rights Case, US Supreme Court Sides With Government

23 June 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court on Friday ruled against a Wisconsin family in a property rights case that makes it easier for government officials to restrict development in environmentally sensitive areas. 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. Courts must strive for consistency with the central objective 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. Treating the lot in question as a single parcel is legitimate for purposes of this takings inquiry, and this supports the conclusion that no regulatory taking occurred here.

Olivier Douliery - Pool via CNP/NewscomWhen governments issue regulations that undermine the value of property, bureaucrats don't necessarily have to compensate property holders, the Supreme Court ruled Friday. Justice Neil Gorsuch did not participate.

In an article previewing the case in March, University of Wisconsin law professor Miriam Seifter explained that because the property was held in common ownership, and was conveyed from the original owners to their children after the 1976 ordinance went into effect, it was legally considered one parcel. "Because the majority departs from these settled principles, I respectfully dissent".

The Pacific Legal Foundation, a conservative land rights group that represented the Murrs, called the ruling a disappointment for property owners.

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Several western states filed amicus briefs in the case on behalf of the Murr family (as did the Reason Foundation, which publishes this blog). "We are disappointed that the court did not recognize the fundamental unfairness to the Murrs of having their separate properties combined, simply to avoid the protection of the Takings Clause". The owners now wished to divide the property and sell one part.

"It is our hope that property owners across the country will learn from our experience and not take their property rights for granted", Murr said.

The family, the Murrs, claimed the state took a parcel of land they owned next to their cabin along the St. Croix River through regulations and did not provide them just compensation.

"As a family, we are very proud of our achievements and all we have endured", she said.

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The dispute began in 2004 when four Murr family siblings tried to sell the vacant lot to pay for improvements on a rustic cabin that sits on the plot next door.

Wisconsin's solicitor general argued that a legal link between the properties is the distinction.

State and local governments nationwide are grappling with ways to manage urban sprawl, provide services to residents and protect the environment, often by limiting the use of private property and leading to litigation by landowners.

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