Property rights on the line

Monday, October 1, 2018
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

U.S. Supreme Court w/ flagAmerica's highest court is set to hear a case that one attorney says would affect property owners across the country.

Knick v. Township of Scott, Pennsylvania involves Rose Knick, who owns a 90-acre farm in the rural town that passed an ordinance redefining what is and is not a cemetery.

"The ordinance allowed government officials to go onto her property without permission, look around, find a few loose, unmarked stones … declare those grave stones and … the area a grave site, and then threaten her with massive fines if she didn't open up her private property … farm to the public to come view these stones seven days a week during daylight hours," says attorney Christina Martin of the Pacific Legal Foundation, the organization representing Knick.

Rose Knick took her case to state court but was told it was not yet ready to be heard. According to Martin, the state court said Knick had to wait until the town started civil enforcement proceedings.

Martin

"So she went to federal court, and the federal court said, 'Yes, what the town has done is constitutionally suspect, but you can't bring your case here; you have to go to state court -- the court that said you can't bring it here yet' because of a 33-year old decision called Williamson County Regional Planning Commission vs Hamilton Bank," Martin explains. "This 33-year-old precedent that the Supreme Court set sent federal constitutional Fifth Amendment claims to state court instead of federal court. [So] even though you can normally bring any federal constitutional claim in federal court, they essentially closed the federal courthouse doors to these property rights claims, and as a result, people like Rose Knick, our client, have been left with no reasonable way to enforce her property rights."

Knick v. Township of Scott, Pennsylvania is scheduled for this Wednesday. 

"This would affect property owners across the country," Martin continues. "When their property is taken, but the government doesn't pay for it, they would then be able to go to federal court to enforce their rights. Right now, they can only go to state court, and that's unusual."

Ordinarily, one can enforce his or her federal constitutional rights in both state and federal court, which Martin says is ultimately "good for everybody because it essentially keeps the states accountable and it allows people to choose the forum that is going to work better for them."

Comments will be temporarily unavailable. Thank you for your patience as we restore this service!

We moderate all reader comments, usually within 24 hours of posting (longer on weekends). Please limit your comment to 300 words or less and ensure it addresses the article - NOT another reader's comments. Comments that contain a link (URL), an inordinate number of words in ALL CAPS, rude remarks directed at other readers, or profanity/vulgarity will not be approved. More details

SIGN UP FOR OUR DAILY NEWS BRIEF

FEATURED PODCAST

VOTE IN OUR POLL

Are elections in your state well-protected against voter fraud – or is election reform needed?

CAST YOUR VOTE

GET PUSH NOTIFICATIONS

SUBSCRIBE

LATEST AP HEADLINES

Chamber of Commerce seeks end to Biden anti-work incentive
Texas becomes the latest state to fight election fraud
It's confirmed...major plunge in California population numbers
Police: 29 people recovered from semitruck in Texas
Israeli troops kill 2 Palestinian terrorists

LATEST FROM THE WEB

Dems after bad jobs report: More spending is answer
Media suddenly focused on inflation after D.C. spending spree
NY AG: 'Net neutrality' comments to FCC faked
White House admits it tries to keep Biden from probing reporter
Cori Bush slammed for referring to mothers as 'birthing people'

CARTOON OF THE DAY

Cartoon of the Day
NEXT STORY
Commission's new game: Let's get Jack

Jack Phillips (Colo. baker - concerned look)Lawyers for Jack Phillips are appealing to a federal judge after the Colorado baker has been targeted a second time by the state's Civil Rights Commission.