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U.S. Supreme Court Opinion: Knick v. Township of Scott, Penn.

June 21, 2019
By Chief Justice John Roberts

The Majority Opinion Reverses the Williamson County Precedent

A government violates the Takings Clause when it takes property without compensation, and a property owner may bring a Fifth Amendment claim under at that time.  In Williamson County, the Court held that, as relevant here, a property developer’s federal takings claim was “premature” because he had not sought compensation through the State’s inverse condemnation procedure.

The unanticipated consequence of this ruling was that a takings plaintiff who complied with Williamson County and brought a compensation claim in state court would— on proceeding to federal court after the unsuccessful state claim—have the federal claim barred because the full faith and credit statute required the federal court to give preclusive effect to the state court’s decision.

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Law: Judiciary