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Lingle v. Chevron U.S.A., Inc.

Citation: 35 ELR 20106
No. No. 04-163, (U.S., 05/23/2005)

The Court held that the "substantially advances" formula, announced in Agins v. City of Tiburon, 447 U.S. 255, 10 ELR 20361 (1980), is not an appropriate test for determining whether a government regulation effects a Fifth Amendment taking. The "substantially advances" formula prescribes an inquiry into the nature of a due process test, which has no proper place in the Court's takings jurisprudence. Although Agins' reliance on due process precedents is understandable when viewed in historical context, the language the Court selected was imprecise. It suggests a means-ends test, asking, in essence, whether a regulation of private property is effective in achieving some legitimate public purpose. Such an inquiry is not a valid method of discerning whether private property has been "taken" for Fifth Amendment purposes. The "substantially advances" inquiry reveals nothing about the magnitude or character of the burden a particular regulation imposes upon private property rights or how any regulatory burden is distributed among property owners. Thus, a plaintiff seeking to challenge a government regulation as an uncompensated taking of private property may proceed by alleging a "physical" taking, a total regulatory taking under Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council, 505 U.S. 1003, 22 ELR 21104 (1992), a taking under Penn Central Transportation Co. v. New York City, 438 U.S. 104, 8 ELR 20528 (1978), or a land use exaction violating the standards set forth in Nollan v. California Coastal Commission, 483 U.S. 825, 17 ELR 20918 (1987), and Dolan v. City of Tigard, 512 U.S. 374, 24 ELR 21083 (1994). O'Connor, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court. Kennedy, J., filed a concurring opinion.