Although it is established that govern-ment may take private property, with compensation, to promote the public interest, that interest also may be served by regulation of property use pursuant to the police power, and for years there was broad dicta that no one may claim damages that result from a police regulation designed to secure the common welfare, especially in the area of health and safety.701 “What distinguishes eminent domain from the police power is that the former involves the taking of property because of its need for the public use while the latter involves the regulation of such property to prevent the use thereof in a manner that is detrimental to the public interest.”702 But regulation may deprive an owner of most or all beneficial use of his property and may destroy the values of the property for the purposes to which it is suited.703 The older cases flatly denied the possibility of compensation for this diminution of property values,704 but the Court in 1922 established as a general principle that “if regulation goes too far it will be recognized as a taking.”705
In Mahon, Justice Holmes, for the Court, over Justice Brandeis’ vigorous dissent, held unconstitutional a state statute prohibiting subsurface mining in regions where it presented a danger of subsidence for homeowners. The homeowners had purchased by deeds that reserved to the coal companies ownership of subsurface mining rights and that held the companies harmless for damage caused by subsurface mining operations. The statute thus gave the homeowners more than they had been able to obtain through contracting, and at the same time deprived the coal companies of the entire value of their subsurface estates. The Court observed that “[f]or practical purposes, the right to coal consists in the right to mine,” and that the statute, by making it “commercially impracticable to mine certain coal,” had essentially “the same effect for constitutional purposes as appropriating or destroying it.”706 The regulation, therefore, in precluding the companies from exercising any mining rights whatever, went “too far.”707 However, when presented 65 years later with a very similar restriction on coal mining, the Court upheld it, pointing out that, unlike its predecessor, the newer law identified important public interests.708
The Court had been early concerned with the imposition upon one or a few individuals of the costs of furthering the public interest.709 But it was with respect to zoning, in the context of substantive due process, that the Court first experienced some difficulty in this regard. The Court’s first zoning case involved a real estate company’s challenge to a comprehensive municipal zoning ordinance, alleging that the ordinance prevented development of its land for industrial purposes and thereby reduced its value from $10,000 an acre to $2,500 an acre.710 Acknowledging that zoning was of recent origin, the Court observed that it must find its justification in the police power and be evaluated by the constitutional standards applied to exercises of the police power. After considering traditional nuisance law, the Court determined that the public interest was served by segregation of incompatible land uses and the ordinance was thus valid on its face; whether its application to diminish property values in any particular case was also valid would depend, the Court said, upon a finding that it was not “clearly arbitrary and unreasonable, having no substantial relation to the public health, safety, morals, or general welfare.”711 A few years later the Court, again relying on due process rather than taking law, did invalidate the application of a zoning ordinance to a tract of land, finding that the tract would be rendered nearly worthless and that to exempt the tract would impair no substantial municipal interest.712 But then the Court withdrew from the land-use scene until the 1970s, giving little attention to states and their municipalities as they developed more comprehensive zoning techniques.713
As governmental regulation of property has expanded over the years—in terms of zoning and other land use controls, environmental regulations, and the like—the Court never developed, as it admitted, a “set formula to determine where regulation ends and taking begins.”714
More recently the Court has observed that, “[i]n the near century since Mahon, the Court for the most part has refrained from elaborating this principle through definitive rules.”715 Indeed, “[t]his area of the law has been characterized by ‘ad hoc, factual inquiries, designed to allow careful examination and weighing of all the relevant circumstances.’”716 Nonetheless, the Court has now formulated general principles that guide many of its decisions in the area.717
In Penn Central Transportation Co. v. City of New York,718 the Court, while cautioning that regulatory takings cases require “essentially ad hoc, factual inquiries,” nonetheless laid out general guidance for determining whether a regulatory taking has occurred. “The economic impact of the regulation on the claimant and, particularly, the extent to which the regulation has interfered with distinct investment-backed expectations are . . . relevant considerations. So too, is the character of the governmental action. A ‘taking’ may more readily be found when the interference with property can be characterized as a physical invasion by government than when interference arises from some public program adjusting the benefits and burdens of economic life to promote the common good.”719
At issue in Penn Central was the City’s landmarks preservation law, as applied to deny approval to construct a 53-story office building atop Grand Central Terminal. The Court upheld the landmarks law against Penn Central’s takings claim through application of the principles set forth above. The economic impact on Penn Central was considered: the Company could still make a “reasonable return” on its investment by continuing to use the facility as a rail terminal with office rentals and concessions, and the City specifically permitted owners of landmark sites to transfer to other sites the right to develop those sites beyond the otherwise permissible zoning restrictions, a valuable right that mitigated the burden otherwise to be suffered by the owner. As for the character of the governmental regulation, the Court found the landmarks law to be an economic regulation rather than a governmental appropriation of property, the preservation of historic sites being a permissible goal and one that served the public interest.720
Justice Holmes began his analysis in Mahon with the observation that “[g]overnment hardly could go on if to some extent values incident to property could not be diminished without paying for every . . . change in the general law,”721 and Penn Central’s economic impact standard also leaves ample room for recognition of this principle. Thus, the Court can easily hold that a mere permit requirement does not amount to a taking,722 nor does a simple recordation requirement.723 The tests become more useful, however, when compliance with regulation becomes more onerous.
Several times the Court has relied on the concept of “distinct [or, in most later cases, ‘reasonable’] investment-backed expectations” first introduced in Penn Central. In Ruckelshaus v. Monsanto Co.,
724 the Court used the concept to determine whether a taking had resulted from the government’s disclosure of trade secret information submitted with applications for pesticide registrations. Disclosure of data that had been submitted from 1972 to 1978, a period when the statute guaranteed confidentiality and thus “formed the basis of a distinct investment-backed expectation,” would have destroyed the property value of the trade secret and constituted a taking.725 Following 1978 amendments setting forth conditions of data disclosure, however, applicants voluntarily submitting data in exchange for the economic benefits of registration had no reasonable expectation of additional protections of confidentiality.726 Relying less heavily on the concept but rejecting an assertion that reasonable investment backed-expectations had been upset, the Court in Connolly v. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.727 upheld retroactive imposition of liability for pension plan withdrawal on the basis that employers had at least constructive notice that Congress might buttress the legislative scheme to accomplish its legislative aim that employees receive promised benefits. However, where a statute imposes severe and “substantially disproportionate” retroactive liability based on conduct several decades earlier, on parties that could not have anticipated the liability, a taking (or violation of due process) may occur. On this rationale, the Court in Eastern Enterprises v. Apfel728 struck down the Coal Miner Retiree Health Benefit Act’s requirement that companies formerly engaged in mining pay miner retiree health benefits, as applied to a company that spun off its mining operation in 1965 before collective bargaining agreements included an express promise of lifetime benefits.
On the other hand, a federal ban on the sale of artifacts made from eagle feathers was sustained as applied to the existing inventory of a commercial dealer in such artifacts, the Court not directly addressing the ban’s obvious interference with investment-backed expectations.729 The Court merely noted that the ban served a substantial public purpose in protecting the eagle from extinction, that the owner still had viable economic uses for his holdings, such as displaying them in a museum and charging admission, and that he still had the value of possession.730
The Court has made plain that, in applying the economic impact and investment-backed expectations factors of Penn Central, courts are to compare what the property owner has lost through the challenged government action with what the owner retains. Discharging this mandate requires a court to define the extent of plaintiff ’s property—the “parcel as a whole”—that sets the scope of analysis.731 In Murr v. Wisconsin, the Court stated that, “[l]ike the ultimate question whether a regulation has gone too far, the question of the proper parcel in regulatory takings cases cannot be solved by any simple test. Courts must instead define the parcel in a manner that reflects reasonable expectations about the property.”732 In Murr, the owners of two small adjoining lots, previously owned separately, wished to sell one of the lots and build on the other. The landowners were prevented from doing so by state and local regulations, enacted to implement a federal act, which effectively merged the lots when they came under common ownership, thereby barring the separate sale or improvement of the lots. The landowners therefore sought just compensation, alleging a regulatory taking of their property.733
In ruling against the landowners, the Supreme Court set forth a flexible multi-factor test for defining “the proper unit of property” to analyze whether a regulatory taking has occurred.734 The Court continued the approach of prior cases whereby the boundaries of the parcel determine the “denominator of the fraction” of value taken from a property by a governmental regulation, which in turn can determine whether the government has “taken” private property.735 Under this formula, regulators have an interest in a larger denominator—in the Murr case, combining the two adjoining lots—to reduce the likelihood of having to provide compensation, while property owners seeking to show that their property has been taken have an interest in the denominator being as small as possible. The Murr Court instructed that, in determining the parcel at issue in a regulatory takings case, “no single consideration can supply the exclusive test for determining the denominator.736 Instead, courts must consider a number of factors,” including (1) “the treatment of the land under state and local law”737 ; (2) “the physical characteristics of the land”738 ; and (3) “the prospective value of the regulated land.”739
In the course of its opinion in Penn Central the Court rejected the principle that no compensation is required when regulation bans a noxious or harmful effect of land use.740 The principle, it had been contended, followed from several earlier cases, including Goldblatt v. Town of Hempstead.741 In that case, after the town had expanded around an excavation used by a company for mining sand and gravel, the town enacted an ordinance that in effect terminated further mining at the site. Declaring that no compensation was owed, the Court stated that “[a] prohibition simply upon the use of property for purposes that are declared, by valid legislation, to be injurious to the health, morals, or safety of the community, cannot, in any just sense, be deemed a taking or an appropriation of property for the public benefit. Such legislation does not disturb the owner in the control or use of his property for lawful purposes, nor restrict his right to dispose of it, but is only a declaration by the State that its use by anyone, for certain forbidden purposes, is prejudicial to the public interests.”742 In Penn Central, however, the Court denied that there was any such test and that prior cases had turned on the concept. “These cases are better understood as resting not on any supposed ‘noxious’ quality of the prohibited uses but rather on the ground that the restrictions were reasonably related to the implementation of a policy—not unlike historic preservation— expected to produce a widespread public benefit and applicable to all similarly situated property.”743 More recently, in Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council,744 the Court explained “noxious use” analysis as merely an early characterization of police power measures that do not require compensation. “[N]oxious use logic cannot serve as a touchstone to distinguish regulatory ‘takings’—which require compensation—from regulatory deprivations that do not require compensation.”745
Penn Central is not the only guide to when an inverse condemnation has occurred; other criteria have emerged from other cases before and after Penn Central. The Court has long recognized a per se takings rule for certain physical invasions: when government permanently746 occupies property (or authorizes someone else to do so), the action constitutes a taking regardless of the public interests served or the extent of damage to the parcel as a whole.747 The modern case dealt with a law that required landlords to permit a cable television company to install its cable facilities upon their buildings; although the equipment occupied only about 1½ cubic feet of space on the exterior of each building and had only a de minimis economic impact, a divided Court held that the regulation authorized a permanent physical occupation of the property and thus constituted a taking.748 Recently, the Court sharpened further the distinction between regulatory takings and permanent physical occupations by declaring it “inappropriate” to use case law from either realm as controlling precedent in the other.749 Physical invasions falling short of permanent physical occupations remain subject to Penn Central.
A second per se taking rule is of more recent vintage. Land use controls constitute takings, the Court stated in Agins v. City of Tiburon, if they do not “substantially advance legitimate governmental interests,” or if they deny a property owner “economically viable use of his land.”750 This second Agins criterion creates a categorical rule: when, with respect to the parcel as a whole, the landowner “has been called upon to sacrifice all economically beneficial uses in the name of the common good, that is, to leave his property economically idle, he has suffered a taking.”751 The only exceptions, the Court explained in Lucas, are for those restrictions that come with the property as title encumbrances or other legally enforceable limitations. Regulations “so severe” as to prohibit all economically beneficial use of land “cannot be newly legislated or decreed (without compensation), but must inhere in the title itself, in the restrictions that background principles of the State’s law of property and nuisance already place upon land ownership. A law or decree with such an effect must, in other words, do no more than duplicate the result that could have been achieved in the courts—by adjacent land owners (or other uniquely affected persons) under the State’s law of private nuisance, or by the State under its complementary power to abate [public] nuisances . . . , or otherwise.”752 Thus, while there is no broad “noxious use” exception separating police power regulations from takings, there is a narrower “background principles” exception based on the law of nuisance and unspecified “property law” principles.
Together with the investment-backed expectations factor of Penn Central, background principles were viewed by many lower courts as supporting a “notice rule” under which a taking claim was absolutely barred if based on a restriction imposed under a regulatory regime predating plaintiff ’s acquisition of the property. In Palazzolo v. Rhode Island,753 the Court forcefully rejected the absolute version of the notice rule, regardless of rationale. Under such a rule, it said, “[a] State would be allowed, in effect, to put an expiration date on the Takings Clause.”754 Whether any role is left for preacquisition regulation in the takings analysis, however, the Court’s majority opinion did not say, leaving the issue to dueling concurrences from Justice O’Connor (prior regulation remains a factor) and Justice Scalia (prior regulation is irrelevant). Less than a year later, Justice O’Connor’s concurrence carried the day in extended dicta in Tahoe-Sierra,755 though the decision failed to elucidate the factors affecting the weighting to be accorded the pre-existing regime.
The “or otherwise” reference, the Court explained in Lucas,756 was principally directed to cases holding that in times of great public peril, such as war, spreading municipal fires, and the like, property may be taken and destroyed without necessitating compensation. Thus, in United States v. Caltex, Inc.,757 the owners of property destroyed by retreating United States armies in Manila during World War II were held not entitled to compensation, and in United States v. Central Eureka Mining Co.,758 the Court held that a federal order suspending the operations of a nonessential gold mine for the duration of the war in order to redistribute the miners, unaccompanied by governmental possession and use or a forced sale of the facility, was not a taking entitling the owner to compensation for loss of profits. Finally, the Court held that when federal troops occupied several buildings during a riot in order to dislodge rioters and looters who had already invaded the buildings, the action was taken as much for the owners’ benefit as for the general public benefit and the owners must bear the costs of the damage inflicted on the buildings subsequent to the occupation.759
The first prong of the Agins test,760 asking whether land use controls “substantially advance legitimate governmental interests,” has now been erased from takings jurisprudence, after a quarter-century run. The proper concern of regulatory takings law, said Lingle v. Chevron U.S.A. Inc.,761 is the magnitude, character, and distribution of the burdens that a regulation imposes on property rights. In “stark contrast,” the “substantially advances” test addresses the means-end efficacy of a regulation, more in the nature of a due process inquiry.762 As such, it is not a valid takings test.
A third type of inverse condemnation, in addition to regulatory and physical takings, is the exaction taking. A two-part test has emerged. The first part debuted in Nollan v. California Coastal Commission,763 and holds that in order not to be a taking, an exaction condition on a development permit approval (requiring, for example, that a portion of a tract to be subdivided be dedicated for public roads)764 must substantially advance a purpose related to the underlying permit. There must, in short, be an “essential nexus” between the two; otherwise the condition is “an out-and-out plan of extortion.”765 The second part of the exaction-takings test, announced in Dolan v. City of Tigard766 specifies that the condition, to not be a taking, must be related to the proposed development not only in nature, per Nollan, but also in degree. Government must establish a “rough proportionality” between the burden imposed by such conditions on the property owner, and the impact of the property owner’s proposed development on the community—at least in the context of adjudicated (rather than legislated) conditions.
Nollan and Dolan occasioned considerable debate over the breadth of what became known as the “heightened scrutiny” test. The stakes were plainly high in that the test, where it applies, lessens the traditional judicial deference to local police power and places the burden of proof as to rough proportionality on the government. In City of Monterey v. Del Monte Dunes at Monterey, Ltd.,767 the Court unanimously confined the Dolan rough proportionality test, and, by implication, the Nollan nexus test, to the exaction context that gave rise to those cases. Still unclear, however, is whether the Court meant to place outside Dolan exactions of a purely monetary nature, in contrast with the physically invasive dedication conditions involved in Nollan and Dolan.768 The Court clarified this uncertainty in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District by holding that monetary exactions imposed under land use permitting were subject to essential nexus/rough proportionality analysis.769
The announcement following Penn Central of the above per se rules in Loretto (physical occupations), Agins and Lucas (total elimination of economic use), and Nollan/Dolan (exaction conditions) prompted speculation that the Court was replacing its ad hoc Penn Central approach with a more categorical takings jurisprudence. Such speculation was put to rest, however, by three decisions from 2001 to 2005 expressing distaste for categorical regulatory takings analysis. These decisions endorse Penn Central as the dominant mode of analysis for inverse condemnation claims, confining the Court’s per se rules to the “relatively narrow” physical occupation and total wipe-out circumstances, and the “special context” of exactions.770
Following the Penn Central decision, the Court grappled with the issue of the appropriate remedy property owners should pursue in objecting to land use regulations.771 The remedy question arises because there are two possible constitutional objections to be made to regulations that go “too far” in reducing the value of property or which do not substantially advance a legitimate governmental interest. The regulation may be invalidated as a denial of due process, or may be deemed a taking requiring compensation, at least for the period in which the regulation was in effect. The Court finally resolved the issue in First English Evangelical Lutheran Church v. County of Los Angeles, holding that when land use regulation is held to be a taking, compensation is due for the period of implementation prior to the holding.772 The Court recognized that, even though government may elect in such circumstances to discontinue regulation and thereby avoid compensation for a permanent property deprivation, “no subsequent action by the government can relieve it of the duty to provide compensation for the period during which the taking was effective.”773 Outside the land-use context, however, the Court has now recognized a limited number of situations where invalidation, rather than compensation, remains the appropriate takings remedy.774
The process of describing general criteria to guide resolution of regulatory taking claims, begun in Penn Central, has reduced to some extent the ad hoc character of takings law. It is nonetheless true that not all cases fit neatly into the categories delimited to date, and that still other cases that might be so categorized are explained in different terms by the Court. The overriding objective, the Court frequently reminds us, is to vitalize the Takings Clause’s protection against government “forcing some people alone to bear public burdens which, in all fairness and justice, should be borne by the public as a whole.”775 Thus a taking may be found if the effect of regulation is enrichment of the government itself rather than adjustment of the benefits and burdens of economic life in promotion of the public good.776 Similarly, the Court looks askance at governmental efforts to secure public benefits at a landowner’s expense—“government actions that may be characterized as acquisitions of resources to permit or facilitate uniquely public functions.”777
On the other side of the coin, the nature as well as the extent of property interests affected by governmental regulation sometimes takes on importance. Some strands are more important than others. The right to exclude others from one’s land is so basic to ownership that extinguishment of this right ordinarily constitutes a taking.778 Similarly valued is the right to pass on property to one’s heirs.779
Failure to incur administrative (and judicial) delays can result in dismissal of an as-applied taking claim based on ripeness doctrine, an area of takings law that the Court has developed extensively since Penn Central. In the leading decision of Williamson County Regional Planning Commission v. Hamilton Bank,780 the Court announced the canonical two-part ripeness test for takings actions brought in federal court. First, for an as-applied challenge, the property owner must obtain from the regulating agency a “final, definitive position” regarding how it will apply its regulation to the owner’s land. Second, when suing a state or municipality, the owner must exhaust any possibilities for obtaining compensation from the state or its courts before coming to federal court. Thus, the claim in Williamson County was found unripe because the plaintiff had failed to seek a variance (first prong of test), and had not sought compensation from the state courts in question even though they recognized inverse condemnation claims (second prong). Similarly, in MacDonald, Sommer & Frates v. County of Yolo,781 a final decision was found lacking where the landowner had been denied approval for one subdivision plan calling for intense development, but that denial had not foreclosed the possibility that a scaled-down (though still economic) version would be approved. In a somewhat different context, a taking challenge to a municipal rent control ordinance was considered “premature” in the absence of evidence that a tenant hardship provision had ever been applied to reduce what would otherwise be considered a reasonable rent increase.782 Beginning with Lucas in 1992, however, the Court’s ripeness determinations have displayed an impatience with formalistic reliance on the “final decision” rule, while nonetheless explicitly reaffirming it. In Palazzolo v. Rhode Island,783 for example, the Court saw no point in requiring the landowner to apply for approval of a scaled-down development of his wetland, since the regulations at issue made plain that no development at all would be permitted there. “[O]nce it becomes clear that the agency lacks the discretion to permit any development, or the permissible uses of the property are known to a reasonable degree of certainty, a takings claim is likely to have ripened.”784
Facial challenges dispense with the Williamson County final decision prerequisite, though at great risk to the plaintiff in that, without pursuing administrative remedies, a claimant often lacks evidence that a statute has the requisite economic impact on his or her property.785
The requirement that state remedies be exhausted before bringing a federal taking claim to federal court has occasioned countless dismissals of takings claims brought initially in federal court, while at the same time posing a bar under doctrines of preclusion to filing first in state court, per Williamson County, then relitigating in federal court. The effect in many cases is to keep federal takings claims out of federal court entirely—a consequence the plaintiffs’ bar has long argued could not have been intended by the Court. In San Remo Hotel, L.P. v. City and County of San Francisco,786 the Court unanimously declined to create an exception to the federal full faith and credit statute787 that would allow relitigation of federal takings claims in federal court. Nor, said the Court, may an England reservation of the federal taking claim in state court788 be used to require a federal court to review the reserved claim, regardless of what issues the state court may have decided. While concurring in the judgment, four justices asserted that the state-exhaustion prong of Williamson County “may have been mistaken.”789
- Mugler v. Kansas, 123 U.S. 623, 668–69 (1887). See also The Legal Tender Cases, 79 U.S. (12 Wall.) 457, 551 (1871); Chicago, B. & Q. R.R. v. City of Chicago, 166 U.S. 226, 255 (1897); Omnia Commercial Co. v. United States, 261 U.S. 502 (1923); Norman v. Baltimore & Ohio R.R., 294 U.S. 240 (1935).
- 1 NICHOLS ON EMINENT DOMAIN § 1.42 (Julius L. Sackman, 2006).
- E.g., Hadacheck v. Sebastian, 239 U.S. 394 (1915) (ordinance upheld restricting owner of brick factory from continuing his use after residential growth surrounding factory made use noxious, even though value of property was reduced by more than 90%); Miller v. Schoene, 276 U.S. 272 (1928) (no compensation due owner’s loss of red cedar trees ordered destroyed because they were infected with rust that threatened contamination of neighboring apple orchards: preferment of public interest in saving cash crop to property interest in ornamental trees was rational).
- Mugler v. Kansas, 123 U.S. 623, 668–69 (1887) (ban on manufacture of liquor greatly devalued plaintiff ’s plant and machinery; no taking possible simply because of legislation deeming a use injurious to public health and welfare).
- Pennsylvania Coal Co. v. Mahon, 260 U.S. 393, 415 (1922). See also Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council, 505 U.S. 1003 (1992) (a regulation that deprives a property owner of all beneficial use of his property requires compensation, unless the owner’s proposed use is one prohibited by background principles of property or nuisance law existing at the time the property was acquired).
- 260 U.S. at 414–15.
- 260 U.S. at 415. In dissent, Justice Brandeis argued that a restriction imposed to abridge the owner’s exercise of his rights in order to prohibit a noxious use or to protect the public health and safety simply could not be a taking, because the owner retained his interest and his possession. Id. at 416.
- Keystone Bituminous Coal Ass’n v. DeBenedictis, 480 U.S. 470 (1987).
- Nashville, C. & St. L. Ry. v. Walters, 294 U.S. 405 (1935) (government may not require railroad at its own expense to separate the grade of a railroad track from that of an interstate highway). See also Panhandle Co. v. Highway Comm’n, 294 U.S. 613 (1935); Atchison, T. & S.F. Ry. v. Public Util. Comm’n, 346 U.S. 346 (1953), and compare the Court’s two decisions in Georgia Ry. & Electric Co. v. City of Decatur, 295 U.S. 165 (1935), and 297 U.S. 620 (1936).
- Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co., 272 U.S. 365 (1926).
- 272 U.S. at 395. See also Zahn v. Board of Pub. Works, 274 U.S. 325 (1927).
- Nectow v. City of Cambridge, 277 U.S. 183 (1928).
- Initially, the Court’s return to the land-use area involved substantive due process, not takings. Village of Belle Terre v. Boraas, 416 U.S. 1 (1974) (sustaining single-family zoning as applied to group of college students sharing a house); Moore v. City of East Cleveland, 431 U.S. 494 (1977) (voiding single-family zoning so strictly construed as to bar a grandmother from living with two grandchildren of different children). See also City of Eastlake v. Forest City Enterprises, 426 U.S. 668 (1976).
- Penn Central Transp. Co. v. City of New York, 438 U.S. 104, 124 (1978). The phrase appeared first in Goldblatt v. Town of Hempstead, 369 U.S. 590, 594 (1962).
- Murr v. Wisconsin 582 U.S. __, __, No. 15–214, slip op. at 7 (2017) (rejecting the argument of the owners of two adjoining undeveloped lots that a regulatory taking occurred through the enactment of regulations that forbade improvment or seperate sale of the lots).
- Id. (quoting Tahoe-Sierra Pres. Council, Inc. v. Tahoe Reg’l Planning Agency 535 U.S. 302, 322 (2002)).
- While observing that the “central dynamic of the Court’s regulatory takings jurisprudence . . . is its flexibility,” the Court in Murr v. Wisconsin reiterated the “two guidelines . . . for determining when government regulation is so onerous that it constitutes a taking.” Id. at ___, slip op. at 7. First, with some qualifications, “‘a regulation which denies all economically beneficial or productive use of land will require compensation under the Takings Clause.’” Id. (quoting Palazzolo v. Rhode Island, 533 U. S. 606, 617 (2001)). Second, if “a regulation impedes the use of property without depriving the owner of all economically beneficial use, a taking still may be found based on ‘a complex of factors,’ including (1) the economic impact of the regulation on the claimant; (2) the extent to which the regulation has interfered with distinct investment-backed expectations; and (3) the character of the governmental action.” Id. at ___, slip op. at 7–8 (quoting Palazzolo, 533 U.S. at 617).
- 438 U.S. 104 (1978). Justices Rehnquist and Stevens and Chief Justice Burger dissented. Id. at 138.
- 438 U.S. at 124 (citations omitted).
- 438 U.S. at 124–28, 135–38.
- 260 U.S. at 413.
- United States v. Riverside Bayview Homes, 474 U.S. 121 (1985) (requirement that permit be obtained for filling privately-owned wetlands is not a taking, although permit denial resulting in prevention of economically viable use of land may be).
- Texaco v. Short, 454 U.S. 516 (1982) (state statute deeming mineral claims lapsed upon failure of putative owners to take prescribed steps is not a taking); United States v. Locke, 471 U.S. 84 (1985) (reasonable regulation of recordation of mining claim is not a taking).
- 467 U.S. 986 (1984).
- 467 U.S. at 1011.
- 467 U.S. at 1006–07. Similarly, disclosure of data submitted before the confidentiality guarantee was placed in the law did not frustrate reasonable expectations, the Trade Secrets Act merely protecting against “unauthorized” disclosure. Id. at 1008–10.
- 475 U.S. 211 (1986). Accord, Concrete Pipe & Products v. Construction Laborers Pension Trust, 508 U.S. 602, 645–46 (1993). In addition, see Kaiser Aetna v. United States, 444 U.S. 164, 179 (1979) (involving frustration of “expectancies” developed through improvements to private land and governmental approval of permits), and PruneYard Shopping Center v. Robins, 447 U.S. 74, 84 (1980) (characterizing and distinguishing Kaiser Aetna as involving interference with “reasonable investment backed expectations”).
- 524 U.S. 498 (1998). The split doctrinal basis of Eastern Enterprises undercuts its precedent value, and that of Connolly and Concrete Pipe, for takings law. A majority of the justices (one supporting the judgment and four dissenters) found substantive due process, not takings law, to provide the analytical framework where, as in Eastern Enterprises, the gravamen of the complaint is the unfairness and irrationality of the statute, rather than its economic impact.
- Andrus v. Allard, 444 U.S. 51 (1979).
- Similarly, the Court in Goldblatt had pointed out that the record contained no indication that the mining prohibition would reduce the value of the property in question. 369 U.S. at 594. Contrast Hodel v. Irving, 481 U.S. 704 (1987), where the Court found insufficient justification for a complete abrogation of the right to pass on to heirs interests in certain fractionated property. Note as well the differing views expressed in Irving as to whether that case limits Andrus v. Allard to its facts. Id. at 718 (Justice Brennan concurring, 719 (Justice Scalia concurring). See also the suggestion in Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council, 505 U.S. 1003, 1027–28 (1992), that Allard may rest on a distinction between permissible regulation of personal property, on the one hand, and real property, on the other.
- The “parcel as a whole” analysis refers to the precept that takings law “does not divide a single parcel into discrete segments and attempt to determine whether rights in a particular segment have been entirely abrogated.” Penn Central, 438 U.S. at 130; see also Concrete Pipe & Prods. of Cal., Inc. v. Constr. Laborers Pension Tr., 508 U.S. 602, 644 (1993); Keystone Bituminous Coal Ass’n v. DeBenedictis, 480 U.S. 470, 497 (1987). In Tahoe-Sierra Preservation Council v. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, the Court affirmed the established spatial dimension of the doctrine, under which the court must consider the entire relevant tract, as well as the functional dimension, under which the court must consider plaintiff ’s full bundle of rights. See 535 U.S. 302, 327 (2002). The spatial dimension is perhaps best illustrated by the analysis in Penn Central, wherein the Court declined to segment Grand Central Terminal from the air rights above it. 438 U.S. at 130. And the functional dimension of the parcel as a whole is demonstrated by the Court’s refusal in Andrus v. Allard to segment one “stick” in the plaintiff ’s “bundle” of property rights in holding that denial of the right to sell Indian artifacts was not a taking in light of rights in the artifacts that were retained. 444 U.S. 51, 65–66 (1979). In Tahoe-Sierra, the Court also added a temporal dimension to the “parcel as a whole” analysis, under which a court considers the entire time span of plaintiff ’s property interest. Invoking this temporal dimension, the Court held that temporary land-use development moratoria do not effect a total elimination of use because use and value return in the period following the moratorium’s expiration. Tahoe-Sierra, 535 U.S. at 327. Thus, such moratoria are to be analyzed under the ad hoc, multifactor Penn Central test, rather than a per se “total takings” approach.
- Id. at 20 (internal citation omitted) (emphasis added).
- Id. at 11. In doing so, the Court rejected arguments for the adoption of “a formalistic rule to guide the parcel inquiry,” one that would “tie the definition of the parcel to state law.” See id. at 14.
- Id. at 9 (“[B]ecause our test for regulatory taking requires us to compare the value that has been taken from the property with the value that remains in the property, one of the critical questions is determining how to define the unit of property ‘whose value is to furnish the denominator of the fraction.’ As commentators have noted, the answer to this question may be outcome determinative.” (quoting Keystone, 480 U.S. at 497)).
- Id. at 11–12 (“[C]ourts should give substantial weight to the treatment of the land, in particular how it is bounded or divided, under state and local law.”).
- Id. (“[C]ourts must look to the physical characteristics of the landowner’s property. These include the physical relationship of any distinguishable tracts, the parcel’s topography, and the surrounding human and ecological environment. In particular, it may be relevant that the property is located in an area that is subject to, or likely to become subject to, environmental or other regulation.”).
- Id. at 11, 13 (“[C]ourts should assess the value of the property under the challenged regulation, with special attention to the effect of burdened land on the value of other holdings.”).
- The dissent was based upon this test. Penn Central, 438 U.S. at 144–46.
- 369 U.S. 590 (1962). Hadacheck v. Sebastian, 239 U.S. 394 (1915), and, perhaps, Miller v. Schoene, 276 U.S. 272 (1928), also fall under this heading, although Schoene may also be assigned to the public peril line of cases.
- 369 U.S. at 593 (quoting Mugler v. Kansas, 123 U.S. 623, 668–69 (1887)). The Court posited a two-part test. First, the interests of the public required the interference, and, second, the means were reasonably necessary for the accomplishment of the purpose and were not unduly oppressive of the individual. 369 U.S. at 595. The test was derived from Lawton v. Steele, 152 U.S. 133, 137 (1894) (holding that state officers properly destroyed fish nets that were banned by state law in order to preserve certain fisheries from extinction).
- Penn Central, 438 U.S. at 133–34 n.30.
- 505 U.S. 1003 (1992).
- 505 U.S. at 1026. The Penn Central majority also rejected the dissent’s contention, 438 U.S. at 147–50, that regulation of property use constitutes a taking unless it spreads its distribution of benefits and burdens broadly so that each person burdened has at the same time the enjoyment of the benefit of the restraint upon his neighbors. The Court deemed it immaterial that the landmarks law has a more severe impact on some landowners than on others: “Legislation designed to promote the general welfare commonly burdens some more than others.” Id. at 133–34.
- By contrast, the per se rule is inapplicable to temporary physical occupations of land. Loretto v. Teleprompter Manhattan CATV Corp., 458 U.S. 419, 428, 434 (1982); PruneYard Shopping Center v. Robins, 447 U.S. 74, 84 (1980).
- The rule emerged from cases involving flooding of lands and erection of poles for telegraph lines, e.g., Pumpelly v. Green Bay Co., 80 U.S. (13 Wall.) 166 (1872); City of St. Louis v. Western Union Tel. Co., 148 U.S. 92 (1893); Western Union Tel. Co. v. Pennsylvania R.R., 195 U.S. 540 (1904).
- Loretto v. Teleprompter Manhattan CATV Corp., 458 U.S. 419 (1982). Loretto was distinguished in FCC v. Florida Power Corp., 480 U.S. 245 (1987); regulation of the rates that utilities may charge cable companies for pole attachments does not constitute a taking in the absence of any requirement that utilities allow attachment and acquiesce in physical occupation of their property. See also Yee v. City of Escondido, 503 U.S. 519 (1992) (no physical occupation was occasioned by regulations in effect preventing mobile home park owners from setting rents or determining who their tenants would be; owners could still determine whether their land would be used for a trailer park and could evict tenants in order to change the use of their land).
- Tahoe-Sierra, 535 U.S. at 323. Tahoe-Sierra’s sharp physical-regulatory dichotomy is hard to reconcile with dicta in Lingle v. Chevron U.S.A. Inc., 544 U.S. 528, 539 (2005), to the effect that the Penn Central regulatory takings test, like the physical occupations rule of Loretto, “aims to identify regulatory actions that are functionally equivalent to the classic taking in which government directly appropriates private property or ousts the owner from his domain.”
- 447 U.S. 255, 260 (1980).
- Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council, 505 U.S. 1003, 1019 (1992) (emphasis in original). The Agins/Lucas total deprivation rule does not create an all-or-nothing situation, since “the landowner whose deprivation is one step short of complete” may still be able to recover through application of the Penn Central economic impact and “distinct [or reasonable] investment-backed expectations” criteria. Id. at 1019 n.8 (1992). See also Palazzolo, 533 U.S. at 632.
- 505 U.S. at 1029.
- 533 U.S. 606 (2001).
- 533 U.S. at 627.
- 535 U.S. at 335.
- 505 U.S. at 1029 n.16.
- 344 U.S. 149 (1952). In dissent, Justices Black and Douglas advocated the applicability of a test formulated by Justice Brandeis in Nashville, C. & St. L. Ry. v. Walters, 294 U.S. 405, 429 (1935), a regulation case, to the effect that “when particular individuals are singled out to bear the cost of advancing the public convenience, that imposition must bear some reasonable relation to the evils to be eradicated or the advantages to be secured.”
- 357 U.S. 155 (1958).
- National Bd. of YMCA v. United States, 395 U.S. 85 (1969). “An undertaking by the government to reduce the menace from flood damages which were inevitable but for the Government’s work does not constitute the Government a taker of all lands not fully and wholly protected. When undertaking to safeguard a large area from existing flood hazards, the government does not owe compensation under the Fifth Amendment to every landowner which it fails to or cannot protect.” United States v. Sponenbarger, 308 U.S. 256, 265 (1939).
- Agins v. City of Tiburon, 447 U.S. 255, 260 (1980).
- 544 U.S. 528 (2005).
- 544 U.S. at 542.
- 483 U.S. 825 (1987).
- A third type of inverse condemnation, in addition to regulatory and Nollan, also applies to exactions imposed as conditions precedent to permit approval. Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Mgmt. Dist., 570 U.S. ___, No. 11–1447 (2013). To the argument that nothing is “taken” when a permit is denied for failure to agree to a condition precedent, the Court stated that what is at stake is not whether a taking has occurred, but whether the right not to have property taken without just compensation has been burdened impermissibly. Id. at 10. The Court in Koontz did not discuss what remedies might be available to a plaintiff who refuses to accept certain demanding conditions precedent and thereby is refused a permit.
- 483 U.S. at 837. Justice Scalia, author of the Court’s opinion in Nollan, amplified his views in a concurring and dissenting opinion in Pennell v. City of San Jose, 485 U.S. 1 (1988), explaining that “common zoning regulations requiring sub-dividers to observe lot-size and set-back restrictions, and to dedicate certain areas to public streets, are in accord with [constitutional requirements] because the proposed property use would otherwise be the cause of ” the social evil (e.g., congestion) that the regulation seeks to remedy. By contrast, the Justice asserted, a rent control restriction pegged to individual tenant hardship lacks such cause-and-effect relationship and is in reality an attempt to impose on a few individuals public burdens that “should be borne by the public as a whole.” 485 U.S. at 20, 22.
- 512 U.S. 374 (1994).
- 526 U.S. 687 (1999).
- A strong hint that monetary exactions are indeed outside Nollan/Dolan was provided in Lingle v. Chevron U.S.A. Inc., 544 U.S. 528, 546 (2005), explaining that these decisions were grounded on the doctrine of unconstitutional conditions as applied to easement conditions that would have been per se physical takings if condemned directly.
- 570 U.S. ___, No. 11–1447 (2013).
- Lingle v. Chevron U.S.A. Inc., 544 U.S. 528, 538 (2005). The other two decisions are Palazzolo v. Rhode Island, 533 U.S. 606 (2001), and Tahoe-Sierra Preservation Council, Inc. v. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, 535 U.S. 302 (2002).
- See, e.g., Agins v. City of Tiburon, 447 U.S. 255 (1980) (issue not reached because property owners challenging development density restrictions had not submitted a development plan); Hodel v. Virginia Surface Mining & Recl. Ass’n, 452 U.S. 264, 293–97 (1981), and Hodel v. Indiana, 452 U.S. 314, 333–36 (1981) (rejecting facial taking challenges to federal strip mining law).
- 482 U.S. 304 (1987). The decision was 6–3, Chief Justice Rehnquist’s opinion of the Court being joined by Justices Brennan, White, Marshall, Powell, and Scalia, and Justice Stevens’ dissent being joined in part by Justices Blackmun and O’Connor. The position the Court adopted had been advocated by Justice Brennan in a dissenting opinion in San Diego Gas & Elec. Co. v. City of San Diego, 450 U.S. 621, 636 (1981) (dissenting from Court’s holding that state court decision was not “final judgment” under 28 U.S.C. § 1257).
- 482 U.S. at 321.
- Eastern Enterprises v. Apfel, 524 U.S. 498 (1998) (statute imposing generalized monetary liability); Babbitt v. Youpee, 519 U.S. 234 (1997) (amended statutory requirement that small fractional interests in allotted Indian lands escheat to tribe, rather than pass on to heirs); Hodel v. Irving, 481 U.S. 704 (1987) (pre-amendment version of escheat statute).
- Armstrong v. United States, 364 U.S. 40, 49 (1960). For other incantations of this fairness principle, see Penn Central, 438 U.S. at 123–24; and Tahoe-Sierra Pres. Council v. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, 535 U.S. 302, 322, 333–42–89 (2002).
- Webb’s Fabulous Pharmacies v. Beckwith, 449 U.S. 155 (1980) (government retained the interest derived from funds it required to be deposited with the clerk of the county court as a precondition to certain suits; the interest earned was not reasonably related to the costs of using the courts, since a separate statute required payment for the clerk’s services). By contrast, a charge for governmental services “not so clearly excessive as to belie [its] purported character as [a] user fee” does not qualify as a taking. United States v. Sperry Corp., 493 U.S. 52, 62 (1989).
- Penn Central Transp. Co. v. New York City, 438 U.S. 104, 128 (1978). In addition to the cases cited there, see also Kaiser Aetna v. United States, 444 U.S. 164, 180 (1979) (viewed as governmental effort to turn private pond into “public aquatic park”); Nollan v. California Coastal Comm’n, 483 U.S. 825 (1987) (“extortion” of beachfront easement for public as permit condition unrelated to purpose of permit).
- Nollan v. California Coastal Comm’n, 483 U.S. 825, 831–32 (1987) (physical occupation occurs with public easement that eliminates right to exclude others); Kaiser Aetna v. United States, 444 U.S. 164 (1979) (imposition of navigation servitude requiring public access to a privately-owned pond was a taking under the circumstances; owner’s commercially valuable right to exclude others was taken, and requirement amounted to “an actual physical invasion”). But see PruneYard Shopping Center v. Robins, 447 U.S. 74, 84 (1980) (requiring shopping center to permit individuals to exercise free expression rights on property onto which public had been invited was not destructive of right to exclude others or “so essential to the use or economic value of [the] property” as to constitute a taking).
- Hodel v. Irving, 481 U.S. 704 (1987) (complete abrogation of the right to pass on to heirs fractionated interests in lands constitutes a taking), Babbitt v. Youpee, 519 U.S. 234 (1997) (same result based on “severe” restriction of the right).
- 473 U.S. 172 (1985).
- 477 U.S. 340 (1986).
- Pennell v. City of San Jose, 485 U.S. 1 (1988).
- 533 U.S. 606 (2001).
- 533 U.S. at 620. See also Suitum v. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, 520 U.S. 725 (1997) (taking claim ripe despite plaintiff ’s not having applied for sale of her transferrable development rights, because no discretion remains to agency and value of such rights is a simple issue of fact).
- See, e.g., Hodel v. Virginia Surface Mining & Recl. Ass’n, 452 U.S. 264, 295–97 (1981) (facial challenge to surface mining law rejected); United States v. Riverside Bayview Homes, 474 U.S. 121, 127 (1985) (mere permit requirement does not itself take property); Keystone Bituminous Coal Ass’n v. DeBenedictis, 480 U.S. 470, 493–502 (1987) (facial challenge to anti-subsidence mining law rejected).
- 545 U.S. 323 (2005).
- 28 U.S.C. § 1738. The statute commands that “judicial proceedings . . . shall have the same full faith and credit in every court within the United States . . . as they have by law or usage in the courts of such State . . . .” The statute has been held to encompass the doctrines of claim and issue preclusion.
- See England v. Louisiana Bd. of Medical Examiners, 375 U.S. 411 (1964).
- San Remo Hotel, 545 U.S. at 348 (Chief Justice Rehnquist, and Justices O’Connor, Kennedy, and Thomas).