Property owners might want to pay close attention to a case at the U.S. Supreme Court.
The high court wanted to rehear arguments Wednesday for a case known as Knick v. Township of Scott, Pennsylvania. Rose Knick (pictured) owns a 90-acre farm in Pennsylvania where her town passed an ordinance redefining what is and is not a public cemetery. As a result, Knick was told she had to allow people on her property to look for possible grave sites, seveb days a week during daylight hours. To date, her attorneys at Pacific Legal Foundation say she never received compensation. (See earlier story)
Knick went to state court and was told her case was not yet ready to be heard. A federal court told her she had to go to state court. That's based on the June 1985 decision in Williamson County Regional Planning Commission v. Hamilton Bank.
"This 33-year-old precedent that the Supreme Court set sent federal constitutional Fifth Amendment claims to state court instead of federal court," explains PLF attorney Christina Martin. "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. As a result, people like Rose Knick, our client, have been left with no reasonable way to enforce [their] property rights."
Martin believes Wednesday's proceedings went well, and she says the justices asked questions leading her to believe they understand the situation.
"We might find out about this sooner than June, because this case was argued back in October," the attorney tells OneNewsNow, "and there's a good possibility that some of the opinions are already at least partially drafted and they're just trying to finalize what their opinions are going to be and make sure they get it right this time."