Supreme Court Rules Against Florida Regulators Imposing “Extortionate Demands” on Property Owner

Credit: Library of CongressCredit: Library of CongressIn a major win for property rights advocates, the U.S. Supreme Court today in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District reversed a decision by the Florida Supreme Court and held that a state regulatory agency imposed “unconstitutional conditions” and “extortionate demands” on a property owner seeking a necessary building permit.

Writing for a divided 5-4 Court, Justice Samuel Alito held that the St. Johns River Water Management District violated the Constitution when it refused to grant Coy Koontz Sr. a building permit to commercially develop a small piece of land unless he first agreed to several conditions, including funding improvements to state-owned land located between 4.5 and 7 miles away. Charging that these conditions violated his rights under the 5th Amendment, which requires the government to pay just compensation when private property is taken for a public use, Koontz brought suit.

Today, the Supreme Court ruled in his favor. “Extortionate demands of this sort frustrate the Fifth Amendment right to just compensation, and the unconstitutional conditions doctrine prohibits them,” wrote Justice Alito. “We have recognized that regardless of whether the government ultimately succeeds in pressuring someone into forfeiting a constitutional right,” he continued, “the unconstitutional conditions doctrine forbids burdening the Constitution’s enumerated rights by coercively withholding benefits from those who exercise them.”

Writing in dissent, Justice Elena Kagan sided with the state regulators. The Court’s decision, she argued, “threatens to subject a vast array of land-use regulations, applied daily in States and localities throughout the country, to heightened constitutional scrutiny. I would not embark on so unwise an adventure, and would affirm the Florida Supreme Court’s decision.”

This is the third and final Takings Clause case of the current Supreme Court term, and it is the third victory for the property rights side.

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  • LTC(ret) John||

    Kagan - "threatens to subject a vast array of land-use regulations, applied daily in States and localities throughout the country, to heightened constitutional scrutiny. "

    Hey, numbskull, that is a GOOD thing.

  • UnCivilServant||

    It's Kagan, Obama's hand picked justice, you're arguing with a brick wall.

  • PapayaSF||

    ^This.^ And once again, to all you people who say it doesn't mater whether the President is a Democrat or Republican: with a Republican, you have a better chance of getting a justice who votes for the Constitution.

  • kbolino||

    I have four words for you:

    Chief Justice John Roberts

  • PapayaSF||

    That's why I said "better chance."

  • scoul5874||

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  • Dweebston||

    Bah! Beaten to it. But seriously, the scholar of Constitutional law worries that greater scrutiny might be brought against agencies supposed to be subject to Constitutional law? I didn't realize Kagan's a federalist.

  • AlmightyJB||

    "I didn't realize Kagan's a federalist"

    Only when it's convenient

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The Bill of Rights was certainly not set up to stop state agents from doing whatever they want to citizens.

  • Lord Humungus||

    NNOOO! Not that!

  • Bardas Phocas||

    and that reads, to me, like feature, not a bug.

  • Killazontherun||

    Before she dies she is going to be proven the worst judge since Holmes isn't she?

  • Brett L||

    Nah. For one thing, she'll never be CJ.

  • Loki||

    You sure about that? I can easily envision a day when Roberts retires or dies and some prog-tard president decides to "make history" by making that vile excuse for a human being the first female CJ of the SCOTUS. *shudders*

  • Brett L||

    Why? There will be some newer, hotter interest group to pander to with a different female jurist.

  • MJGreen||

    But it makes local legislators' and bureaucrats' jobs harder! You monster!

  • Adam330||

    Shorter Kagan: this can't be unconstitutional because it would make it harder for us to do what we want.

  • Jerryskids||

    That's pretty much the same thing Mueller said regarding warrantless searches of phone and internet records - it's too much work to follow the Constitution.

    If you're going to impose a burden on me to follow the law I have no sympathy for your burden of making sure the imposition is Constitutional. But the problem has a simple solution - stop passing so many laws and you won't have the burden of enforcing them and making sure they are Constitutional.

  • Joe_C||

    Exactly.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Writing in dissent, Justice Elena Kagan sided with the state regulators. The Court’s decision, she argued, “threatens to subject a vast array of land-use regulations, applied daily in States and localities throughout the country, to heightened constitutional scrutiny. I would not embark on so unwise an adventure, and would affirm the Florida Supreme Court’s decision.”

    This kind of retarded "We can't overturn unconstitutional things if they are big" thinking is the worst thing since Root forgot the alt-text.

  • Dweebston||

    Do we really need another Nazgûl joke?

  • Marginal||

    This "property rights victory" will be vacated as soon as Clarence Thomas or Antonin Scalia suffers a cardiac infarction and we are treated to the jurisprudential stylings of Van Jones.

  • Killazontherun||

    Or, Roberts has to resign when the administration decides to drop whatever they held over his head to uphold Obamacare, and then they nominate Kagan to replace him and Van Jones to switch into Kagan's seat.

  • Loki||

    the jurisprudential stylings of Van Jones.

    Is it too early to start drinking?

  • larry hammond||

    No, that thought pretty makes any numbing exercise you need acceptable.

  • ||

    That's kind of the same reason the consummate dingbat Sandra Day O'Connor gave for her decision in Casey v. Planned Parenthood.

    BTW--WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS spell-checked "O'Connor" as "yogurt"--which is ironically appropriate.

  • ||

    Maybe it was Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

  • Fluffy||

    If Kagan is not willing to issue decisions that might overturn existing laws and regulations, WTF is she doing on the Supreme Court?

    Overturning shit should not be "an adventure" for a SCOTUS judge. It should be your fucking 9-5.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    If Kagan is not willing to issue decisions that might overturn existing laws and regulations, WTF is she doing on the Supreme Court?

    Being a woman.

  • Bardas Phocas||

    Being a woman AND protecting Obamacare.
    Otherwise she's just there for stylish robes.

  • fish||

    Otherwise she's just there for stylish robes.

    On a woman of her carriage they're referred to as mumus.

  • Libertymike||

    Can't mumus be stylish?

  • Auric Demonocles||

    OT: I went to college with this guy. Of course you aren't saving money and are living paycheck to paycheck. You're working as a waiter.

  • robc||

    What college degree do you need to get hired as a waiter?

  • WTF||

    Anything that ends in "Studies".

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Possibly correct. I can't remember if his major was Political Studies or Political Science.

  • Doctor Whom||

    That or communications. True story: I once overheard our waiter telling someone that he had a Ph.D. in communications.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Clearly it wasn't a PhD in private communications.

  • some guy||

    Haven't you heard? There are no private communications anymore.

  • Brett L||

    "Do I spend that $10 on this movie I really want to see, or do I save that $10 and hope they add up to something more meaningful?" Trollinger said.

    The 2010 University of Vermont grad

    Dude should definitely sue the University of VT for failing to give him a basic education.

  • Xenocles||

    Well, if he really wants to see it I guess it's okay.

  • ||

    Movies only cost $10 in Vermont?

  • UnCivilServant||

    It's the matinee

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I never saw a movie more than $9.50.

    Though it probably is now with 3D movies.

  • Sevo||

    OK, did me major in bussing tables?

  • Brett L||

    You sure didn't major in English or typing.

  • Lord Humungus||

    I thought it was Cockney!

  • Sevo||

    Yes, I did! And failed.

  • Brett L||

    Oh. Sorry, buddy. I didn't mean to bring up an old hurt.

  • creech||

    Hey, is that crappy movie worth $10?
    Time to make decisions between what you "need" and what you "want."

  • JWatts||

    Since he has already spent years of time and probably a respectable amount of money on a college degree and yet is currently waiting tables; he's probably never going to make that distinction. If he was, the article would include a comment along the lines of "I was a total dumb ass and I've learned my lesson."

    Let me check.

    "Hopefully I'll find a $10,000 bill lying on the ground or something," he chuckled.

    Nope, he's still a dumb ass.

  • kinnath||

    And, the Voting Rights Act gets neutered as well.

  • Sevo||

    ..."she argued, “threatens to subject a vast array of land-use regulations, applied daily in States and localities throughout the country, to heightened constitutional scrutiny."...

    Yes, yes, it does.
    Shaddup and siddown.

  • Spartacus||

    ..."she argued, “threatens to subject a vast array of land-use voter qualification regulations, applied daily in States and localities throughout the country, to heightened constitutional scrutiny."...

    I guess Justice Kagan would not have been in favor of overturning poll taxes/literacy tests/etc. because they were so widely used.

  • JWatts||

    No, you are reading that wrong. She's in favor of the State's unlimited power to implement aspects of her desired mood affiliation. Not in the State's ability to follow rules in any consistent and logical fashion.

  • creech||

    Now we need to apply the "takings" doctrine to every small-time township, county, etc. that thinks it is o.k. to change their zoning and prohibit formerly permitted activities. Every property owner in a newly zoned district should be able to claim compensation for the economic damages done by the new zoning restriction. {If they could, it would really chaff the nimby types who would then have to pay for their reluctance to extend property rights to others.}

  • Derek Balling||

    So Kagan's argument is "man, all sorts of gov'ts are doing this and it would really bum them out if they had to start behaving within the confines of the Constitution, and that's why I'm not going to concur"?

    Because that sounds especially lazy.

  • UnCivilServant||

    Less lazy and more "How dare you challenge your betters!"

  • Xenocles||

    Still pretty lazy, though. It has much of the air of "If we do the right thing for him, we'll have to do it for everyone!"

  • ||

    Wow. This Kagan gal is some kind of special.

    The 5-4 vote shows how much things are stacked against free citizens.

  • Nazdrakke||

    No shit. 5-4 isn't a so much win for property rights as a narrow escape and Bog help us if any Justices die or retire under progressive presidents for the foreseeable future.

    When this the best we can do in the face of outright government extortion we are just about at the point of no return. It doesn't really surprise me anymore, but it still makes me angry as hell.

  • Libertymike||

    Agreed.

    Its not as if Messrs. Alito, Kennedy, Roberts, Scalia and Thomas are free enterprise afficianados.

    If they were, they would have abolished Euclidean zoning and held that no person need get permission from any local, county or state agency to build or develop their property.

    EVA!

  • Spartacus||

    Euclidean zoning? What about Riemannian zoning?

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    Cartesian is obviously the best kind of zoning, if you must have any.

  • Loki||

    Justice Elena Kagan sided with the state regulators.

    Gee, what a shocker.

    The Court’s decision, she argued, "threatens to subject a vast array of land-use regulations, applied daily in States and localities throughout the country, to heightened constitutional scrutiny..."

    As well they should. What a stupid cunt.

  • Slammer||

    I'm surprised the alt-text didn't say something about Ginsburg...look how she's cringing away from the rest of them.

  • Loki||

    Can you blame her? I wouldn't want to be in the picture with those shitheads at all.

  • ||

    Writing in dissent, Justice Elena Kagan sided with the state regulators. The Court’s decision, she argued, “threatens to subject a vast array of land-use regulations, applied daily in States and localities throughout the country, to heightened constitutional scrutiny. I would not embark on so unwise an adventure,

    I am reading between the lines and she seems to know that 'a vast array of land-use regulations, applied daily in States and localities throughout the country' are not constitutional yet should not be subjected to scrutiny. What does a socialist hate most? Private. Property. Rights.

    http://www.theatlanticwire.com.....ond/24435/

    Special note: Pay attention to her argument in "A Study in the Futility of Dogma" that socialism failed in America primarily because the right people were not in charge.

    This is who the Shitweasel chose, but no he is not a socialist. Is he shreek? Tony?

  • VG Zaytsev||

    But EK score 87% on the libertarian purity test.

    She only failed the questions about personal autonomy, property rights, due process, gun rights and the NAP.

  • Loki||

    She only failed the questions about personal autonomy, property rights, due process, gun rights and the NAP.

    I think someone needs to adjust the grading scale for the purity test.

  • Anders||

    If EK is a libertarian then Roberts is actually Liberace.

  • Radioactive||

    you mean he's not?

  • Loki||

    Is he shreek? Tony?

    Why are you actively trying to summon the trolls? There are so many better methods of self abuse available that don't also punish everyone else. Or are you some kind of sadist?

  • Anders||

    "Writing in dissent, Justice Elena Kagan sided with the state regulators."

    I'm shocked. It's almost like she's some kind of ultra-statist stooge.

    Never would have had her pegged as that.

  • some guy||

    Not sure if I should be happy that SCOTUS is getting so many of these cases right, or sad that so many of these cases even had to be ruled on by SCOTUS.

  • MJGreen||

    The Court’s decision, she argued, “threatens to subject a vast array of land-use regulations, applied daily in States and localities throughout the country, to heightened constitutional scrutiny.”

    Is this a challenge?

  • J_L_B||

    So her argument amounts to, "we've been violating your rights for so long that to reverse that now would be incredibly disruptive?"

    When did appeal to tradition stop being a logical fallacy?

  • PapayaSF||

    Duh, when progs do it.

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  • buybuydandavis||

    "Writing in dissent, Justice Elena Kagan sided with the state regulators. The Court’s decision, she argued, “threatens to subject a vast array of land-use regulations, applied daily in States and localities throughout the country, to heightened constitutional scrutiny. "

    Yay! Who expected her to be the bearer of such glad tidings?

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