SCOTUS Set to Re-Hear Important Land-Use Case Today
With the Supreme Court set to re-hear arguments in the case of Knick v. Township of Scott today, perhaps Williamson County is headed for the dustbin of history. For those of you just joining the action, Williamson County is a US Supreme Court decision that has long shielded state and local land-use decisions that are unconstitutional under the federal constitution, from federal review.
Here, Rose Knick was required to open her private 90-acre farm in rural Pennsylvania to public access. Even though the township required her to submit to the public occupation of her private property, it refused to compensate her for the required public physical occupation of her property.
When she asked for relief in federal court, she was denied under Williamson County – because she had not pursued her claim in state court, even though state court relief was also not available to her. For too long, state and local governments have abused private property owners and denied them access to the federal courts under Williamson County. Let’s hope the tides are about to change.