Oral argument: Dec. 2, 2009
Appealed from: Florida Supreme Court (Sept. 29, 2008)
TAKINGS CLAUSE, JUDICIAL TAKINGS, ACCRETION, COASTAL PROPERTY, FEDERALISM
In order to combat beach erosion, the Florida Legislature passed the Beach and Shore Preservation Act. The act authorized local municipalities to restore the coastline by adding sand, creating a temporary buffer against erosion. Petitioner Stop the Beach Renourishment, Inc. (“SBR”) claims that Respondents Florida Department of Environmental Protection, et al. (“Florida”) misused the statute in order to unconstitutionally appropriate private beaches for public use without just compensation. SBR alleges that the Florida Supreme Court violated the due process and takings clauses by suddenly and unpredictably changing state substantive law to deprive SBR of its private property without compensation. SBR asks the court, for the first time, to explicitly articulate a doctrine of “judicial takings” in order to address the growing problem of state judiciaries redefining property rights out of existence so that states can avoid compensating property owners. Florida argues that the U.S. Supreme Court should avoid interfering in state court interpretation of state law out of respect for federalism. Florida contends that, even if there were a situation where a doctrine of judicial takings should be imposed, this is not one of them, because the Florida Supreme Court properly followed common law precedent.