Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

Knick v. Scott, Pennsylvania, Township of

ELR Citation: 49 ELR 20109
Nos. 17-647, (U.S., 06/21/2019)

The U.S. Supreme Court vacated a dismissal of a landowner's challenge to a town ordinance on takings grounds. The landowner argued the ordinance, which requires cemeteries on public and private property to be kept open and accessible to the public during daylight hours, effected a taking of her property under the Fifth Amendment requiring just compensation. The district court dismissed her claim for failing to first seek compensation in state court, relying on Williamson County, a prior ruling that landowners must file under state law in state court before bringing a federal takings claim, and the appellate court affirmed. On appeal, however, the Court overruled the Williamson County state-litigation requirement and held the Fifth Amendment right to full compensation arose as soon as the taking occurred. A landowner thus is able to seek just compensation in federal court at the time of the taking without first seeking relief in state court, regardless of whether state court remedies were available. The Court therefore vacated the dismissal and remanded for further proceedings. Roberts, C.J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh, JJ., joined. Thomas, J., filed a concurring opinion. Kagan, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor, JJ., joined.