Property Rights

"Today's decision gives hope to millions of American property owners"

|

The Pacific Legal Foundation's Timothy Sandefur has a good post explaining the importance of today's Supreme Court ruling in Stop the Beach Renourishment v. Florida Dept. of Environmental Regulation, which dealt with the issue of judicial takings—a form of 5th Amendment taking that occurs when courts revise property laws. As Sandefur writes:

The problem is that courts sometimes try to go back and rewrite state property law in order to take property from people without compensation. Although the Supreme Court has sometimes said that that wouldn't be allowed, the Stop The Beach Renourishment case is the first time the Court has discussed the matter at length. In today's decision, the justices found that such a thing did not happen here—but in section II of the opinion, four of the justices went on to explain why this would not be allowed…

Whatever one thinks about the end result of the decision, the crucial fact is that Justices Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Roberts recognize that state courts do not have free rein to redefine private property at will.

Read the rest here.

NEXT: Australian State Bans Swearing

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Whatever one thinks about the end result of the decision, the crucial fact is that Justices Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Roberts recognize that state courts do not have free rein to redefine private property at will.

    Would then the state legislatures? Because private property is defined always in favor of the thieves-in-charge, every time, through (take your pick): Taxation, Regulation, Zoning laws, Environmental laws/regulations, Prohibitions, Copyright laws, you name it.

    1. Zoning doesn’t catch enough flack. I know there was an anti-zoning post here last week, but something so damaging requires more attention.

  2. Whatever one thinks about the end result of the decision, the crucial fact is that Justices Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Roberts recognize that state courts do not have free rein to redefine private property at will.

    Well that’s nice, but it takes five justices to make a majority. So I’m not sure how much good it does.

    1. It’s also just dicta, since those questions are not relevant to the case being decided.

    2. They were writing concurrently with the majority.

      I scanned through the decision and basically it says, “Had the court taken property by redefining property, it would have been a taking – but that’s not actually what the court did”.

      It sounds like they’re saying that the plaintiff had the right legal argument, but that the legal argument they advanced did not actually apply to the particulars of this case.

    3. I feel a certain foreboding, in that only four justices joined the concurrence.

      That means five did not, and would presumably vote the other way in a case where this was dispositive.

      If anything, I view this as a sign that the doctrine of judicial takings is highly unlikely to be applied to require the state to compensate anyone for property that is fiated out of existence by the legislature.

      1. Has it not been obvious for some time that we only have 4 out of 9 SC judges who give a shit about private property rights?

        1. Considering one of the Kelo dissenters has since retired, I suspected it might be fewer.

        2. A note to the “it’s just Team Red/Team Blue crap” folks around here: all of the justices on the libertarian side of this issue were nominated by presidents of one particular team….

  3. Most of one of my brain hemispheres isn’t a churning ball of centipedes. I’ll be fine.

  4. Of course “state courts do not have free rein to redefine private property at will”, that’s the Supreme Court’s job.

  5. Whew! Finally some hope for those of us who are wealthy!

    I thought this day would never come!

    1. 65% of the households in the US own real property.

      WOOHOO!!!! We have achieved the utopia!!!! 65% of our households are wealthy!!!!!!!!

  6. I just went to Sorgatz’ blog.

    Dood.

    1. I could have told you.

      I havent gone because I refuse to respond to trolls, but seriously, you couldnt tell how bad it was gonna be.

      1. Spammer, not troll, I guess. Although maybe both.

    2. No, dude, it’s phenomenal performance art. It has to be.

      1. I’m with Epi on this one. It’s like Chris Elliott’s character in Cabin Boy.

        Sorgatz will return as… a Cabin MAN!

        1. Yes, yes! It’s like when he had the cupcake dream. My god, that was an insane scene.

    3. I gotcha covered Fluffy, just look into this little red light and I’ll take your picture…Here let me put on my sunglasses.

      (POOF)

    4. Yeah, I went to it once too. Kinda the same response as you.

    5. I thought the cartoon girl was kinda hot, but it’s been a long month…

  7. “Beach nourishment”. Right there I knew this was going to be special.

    1. See, I think this would be a great term for tying politicians to stake and leaving them for the crabs and gulls.

      1. Stupid crabs stole a pluralizing ‘s’. stake s/b stakes.

  8. So, should individuals be able to own beaches, and exclude people from walking along them?

    Correct answer: no.

    1. Hey, at least you’re consistent in being wrong.

    2. Re: Chad,

      So, should individuals be able to own beaches, and exclude people from walking along them?

      Not people, Chad – just you.

    3. Chad|6.17.10 @ 5:12PM|#
      “So, should individuals be able to own beaches, and exclude people from walking along them?
      Correct answer: no.”

      So, I’ve got some visitors coming from overseas; any reason they can’t stay at your house while they’re here?
      Correct answer: no, I presume.

      1. When did I say anything about houses, Ron?

        beach =/ house

    4. So, should individuals be able to own beaches, and exclude people from walking along them?

      Correct answer: no.

      Well, certainly an answer with a long history in common law, anyway.

      Note however, that the public strand in common law is everything below the highest tide line, which is to say it does not include any land that is reliably dry.

      Actually, I’m comfortable with that answer (in part because it’s been that way for a long time and people buying beach-front property either knew or should have known about it), but it is not obvious that it should be that way. Merely that it has been that way.

  9. And excuse me while I wander through your back yard. I know you won’t mind if I trample your pachysandra.

    1. Oh, that’s just Chad. He hates private property. Ignore him and he’ll still be around, though.

      1. You too, LG. When did I say anything about “all private property”.

        I am refering to beaches, particularly ocean-front beaches.

        Should I be able to play in the water in front of your beach-front home? How far out do I have to stay?

        1. In your case? Out of rifle range, if you want to stay healthy.

  10. So what the fuck was the court decision?

    Root, why would you not provide a link or a short summary of what the decision was?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.