NAHB Files Amicus Brief in Supreme Court ‘Takings’ Case

Filed in Land Development, Legal by on July 2, 2018 0 Comments

Supreme CourtNAHB recently submitted an amicus brief in a Supreme Court case that may have a profound effect on land use lawsuits.

This fall, the court will hear arguments in Knick v. Township of Scott, a case that has major implications for Fifth Amendment “takings” claims. The takings clause provides a guarantee that property owners be paid “just compensation” when the government takes property for a public use. The issue in Knick deals with access to federal courts for just compensation claims.

Due to the court’s 1985 decision in Williamson County Regional Planning Commission v. Hamilton Bank of Johnson City, plaintiffs have to jump through a number of legal hoops before bringing a takings claim in federal court. These legal hoops, referred to as Williamson County’s ripeness test, cost time and money, and government defendants use Williamson County to wear down plaintiffs well before a federal court has the opportunity to hear a takings claim on the merits. The Knick case will reconsider Williamson County.

NAHB has long argued that Williamson County should be overturned. Since the 1985 decision, NAHB has pursued multiple avenues to overturn Williamson County, in the form of amicus briefs and efforts to find a Congressional fix. NAHB submitted one of just three briefs encouraging the Supreme Court to take the Knick case. On March 5, the court agreed to hear the case.

NAHB submitted another amicus brief on June 5, this time for the merits stage of the Knick case. In addition, other NAHB members participated in separate amicus efforts. NAHB LANDS member Tim Hollister submitted a brief on behalf of certain members of Congress, and longtime NAHB Frank Kottschade joined another amicus brief, which highlighted his years-long takings lawsuit.

Oral argument will likely be in the fall.

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