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» A Well Regulated Militia » General Discussion » Constitutional Discussion » Surpreme Court Hears Murr v. Wisconsin Today

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Author Topic: Surpreme Court Hears Murr v. Wisconsin Today
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This is a property rights case you've never head about, but a lot of people - and States - are beginning to realize just how important this might be.

The Murr family owns two adjacent plots of land along the St. Croix River, and wants to sell one of them (with a value of $400,000) to pay for maintenance on the cabin that sits on the other parcel. But the county government, under a 1975 state law, prohibited the family from selling the second parcel, effectively merging the two parcels of land into one, and devaluing the parcel by as much as 90%.

The question: Should the government be required to pay compensation to the Murr family?

If the government can merge two parcels of land into one, it creates several potential problems for local, state, and federal government.

1. If property owners know that contiguous parcels can be merged together by governments, without compensation, they will have an incentive to NOT get common ownership. That creates other problems with efficiency, as property owners find ways to get around it, such as by creating other parties for a transaction purely to avoid legal problems.

2. It would make it harder to collect parcels of land for a large building project, either public or private.

3. States will have incentives to redefine parcels to avoid liabilities under the constitution's takings clause, and regulators will be able to undermine property values without having to worry about paying compensation.

4. Many state governments own contiguous lots and large bodies of water near areas owned by the federal government (military bases, national parks, etc). Takings rules apply to land taken by the federal government from state government, but if you can say contiguous lots are merged, then the federal government would be able to impose severe restrictions on state land and wouldn't have to pay consequences.

The last point is the one that concerns western states the most. Normally, the federal government compensates the states for the loss of access to their land. They may not have to do that. And that should concern all of us.

Onward and upward,

Posts: 17061 | From: Tulsa | Registered: Jan 2002  | Report this post to a Moderator

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