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A Preliminary Assessment of Palazzolo v. Rhode Island

September 2001

Citation: 31 ELR 11112

Issue: 9

Author: John D. Echeverria

This short Dialogue is a first stab at trying to unravel the meaning and significance of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Palazzolo v. Rhode Island,1 issued on June 28, 2001, the last day of the Court's Term. One's assessment of major Court rulings—like red wine in a coolcellar, or, if you prefer, milk sitting in the hot sun—tends to ripen over time. Accordingly, these observations are offered with the caveat that I may think somewhat differently about the case weeks, months, or years from now.

This Dialogue begins with a brief summary. It then lays out the essential facts, the issues, and the legal rulings in the case. This is followed by my basic observations about the meaning and significance of the Court's decision. Finally, I conclude with a more detailed discussion of the two central aspects of takings doctrine affected by the case: the "notice issue" and the so-called partial taking theory.

The author is Director of the Environmental Policy Project at the Georgetown University Law Center.

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