A small win for property rights

Tuesday, July 9, 2019
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

gavel with U.S. flagShe won the right to her day in court, but the case of a Pennsylvania property owner could still take years to be decided.

A court decision that was perhaps lost in the news cycle to politics, sporting events, and even other court cases was that of Knick v. Township of Scott, Pennsylvania. Rose Knick owns a farm in rural Pennsylvania, and the local government imposed an easement on her property saying there might be bones or gravesites on the grounds. Therefore, Knick had to allow the public access to her property seven days a week.

"They never paid her for it," adds attorney Christina Martin of Pacific Legal Foundation, the law firm representing Knick at no charge.

Knick went to state court but was told she had to wait until the local government acted on threats that it would fine her for not allowing the public access to her land. Knick then went to federal court and was told she had to go to state court because of a 1985 decision that turned property rights into second class rights.

Martin

Late last month, after a legal battle that began in 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to overturn that 1985 decision, restoring the status of property rights so that they are on equal footing with other constitutional rights. 

"What he won is the right to finally go to federal court and defend her property rights," cheers Martin. 

However, it is unclear when that will happen.

"A lot of that depends on how the government responds -- if they decide to settle or if they decide to fight it," the attorney explains. "This thing could take years, unfortunately, but Pacific Legal Foundation represents Rose for free."

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