Options for Supreme Court on Trump travel ban

Druid City Pride board members at Saturday's anniversary event Credit Alex Au Buchon  APR

A new policy nearly certainly would lead to new legal challenges.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday narrowed the rights of property owners in disputes with governments and laid out a formula for determining when landowners are owed compensation in a case involving a vacant lot in Wisconsin on the picturesque St. Croix River.

County officials blocked the sale, citing 1976 regulations that bar new construction on lots in the area to prevent overcrowding and pollution.

In a petition filed in August 2015, the Murrs asked the U.S. Supreme Court to address whether the "parcel as a whole" concept from its landmark 1978 decision in Penn Central Transportation Co. vs. City of NY means that two legally distinct but commonly owned land parcels must be combined for the purposes of a takings analysis. Trump's nomination, Justice Neil Gorsuch, was confirmed in April. He is a conservative justice, yet has been known to side with liberal stances at times, such as with the Supreme Court decision to permit same-sex marriage. "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".

"This is an unfortunate decision for the Murrs, and all property owners", said John Groen, PLF's Executive Vice President and General Counsel.

The decision did not provide the clear guidance many in the development industry had hoped it would.

Kennedy, as he often does, explained that resolving the problem requires the application of a multiplicity of factors, all of which may not be exhaustively catalogued by the Court.

The case had been closely watched by both property rights advocates and governments.

DONNA MURR: I feel like a part of our family has been stolen from us. The ruling potentially could narrow the separation of church and state.

"It declined to limit the parcel in an artificial manner or to limit what constitutes property interests to those established by state laws".

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But the dissenting judges at the time said that a unanimous decision by the initial three-judge panel could hamstring law enforcement, and called on the United States supreme court or Congress to reverse it.

According to multiple reports, people close to Kennedy have said they believe the 80-year-old justice is considering stepping down soon.

In short, they could sell both lots together, but not one or the other.

The Supreme Court said the property should be considered as one parcel.

"We will continue the fight for property owners and for the integrity of the constitutional right against uncompensated government takings", he continued. They may think since they own it, they control it.

Then, in July 2016, a three-judge appeals court panel sided with Microsoft in its ruling, saying that "warrants traditionally carry territorial limitations". The legal issue behind the Murr family's case is how courts should make that call.

Several western states filed amicus briefs in the case on behalf of the Murr family (as did the Reason Foundation, which publishes this blog). The regulations barred building on any lots smaller than one acre of land. The 1995 transfer of the second lot brought the two lots under common ownership and merged them, court records show.

The reason, he explained, is that when the government regulates land owned by private individuals, "it nearly never says that you can't do anything with all the property you own".

Chief Justice John Roberts dissented, and was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.

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