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Glosemeyer v. Missouri-Kansas-Texas R.R.

Citation: 19 ELR 21340
No. No. 88-1863, 879 F.2d 316/(8th Cir., 07/05/1989) Aff'd

The court holds that conversion of an abandoned railroad right-of-way to a trail under § 8(d) of the National Trails System Act does not violate the Contracts, Due Process, Commerce, or Takings Clauses of the Constitution regarding plaintiffs whose property is subject to the right-of-way. The court first holds that the district court had jurisdiction over plaintiffs' constitutional challenge to § 8(d) but not over plaintiffs' challenge to the Interstate Commerce Commission's rules implementing § 8(d) or its decision to authorize the conversion. The court next holds that § 8(d) does not violate the Contracts Clause because that clause applies only to state laws. Assuming arguendo that the right-of-way agreements were contracts and that § 8(d) substantially impaired plaintiffs' contractual rights, the court holds that § 8(d) does not violate substantive due process because it is a rational means of furthering a valid legislative purpose. The court holds that § 8(d) does not violate the Commerce Clause because it is reasonably adapted to the legitimate purposes of preserving rail corridors for future rail use and permitting public recreational trail use. Assuming arguendo that the conversion was a taking of plaintiffs' state law reversionary interests in the right-of-way, the court holds that it does not violate the Takings Clause because § 8(d) does not prevent plaintiffs from suing for compensation under the Tucker Act. Finally, the court holds that it is inappropriate to enjoin a taking when plaintiffs can sue for compensation.

[The district court's decision appears at 18 ELR 21156.]

Counsel for Appellants
Michael M. Berger
Fadem, Berger & Morton
Ste. 600, 501 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica CA 90406
(213) 451-9951

Counsel for Appellees
Louise F. Milkman, Charles H. Montange
National Wildlife Federation
1400 16th St. NW, Washington DC 20036
(202) 797-6886

Before McMILLIAN and BEAM, Circuit Judges, and WHIPPLE,* District Judge.