---Interesting idea. Al. In RLC-CFLA@yahoogroups.com
> Supreme Court sides with government in second land rights case
> By GINA HOLLAND, Associated Press Writer
> Posted: Monday June 20th, 2005, 12:30 PM
> Last Updated: Monday June 20th, 2005, 12:30 PM
> WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court said Monday that people who
> lawsuits claiming the government improperly took their property
cannot count on
> federal courts for help.
> Land rights is a major issue at the high court this year, and so
> justices have made it tougher for people to win lawsuits claiming
that local and
> state laws amount to an unconstitutional "taking."
> The biggest of three cases dealing with government authority to
> properties will be decided in the next week, before the Supreme
Court begins a
> three-month break.
> In Monday's decision, the justices ruled against a historic San
> hotel that wanted to convert rooms - previously designated for
> residents - to accommodate tourists.
> The city had restrictions on hotel changes, as part of an ordinance
> to preserve housing for the poor, disabled and elderly.
> When the San Remo Hotel was ordered to pay $567,000, it sued in
> and narrowly lost at the California Supreme Court in 2002. Then-
> Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown supported the hotel and
wrote a strongly
> worded dissent, used by some senators in opposing her recent
elevation to a
> federal appeals court.
> "Theft is theft even when the government approves of the thievery,"
> wrote. "Turning a democracy into a kleptocracy does not enhance the
stature of the
> thieves, it only diminishes the legitimacy of the government."
> There were no harsh words in Monday's 9-0 Supreme Court ruling that
> 62-room hotel could not pursue a federal case because state courts
> already addressed all the issues.
> "This is a big victory for local governments," said Nicole Garnett,
> Dame law professor.
> Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, in a rare admission, wrote in a
> concurring opinion that he and his colleagues may have made a
mistake 20 years ago when
> they told people in such property fights that they must exhaust
> options before filing federal suits.
> Rehnquist, who has cancer and is expected to retire soon, seemed to
> a challenger to step forward and give the Supreme Court an
> Joined by three other conservative justices, Rehnquist
> reflection and experience lead me to think that the justifications
> state-litigation requirement are suspect, while its impact on
takings plaintiffs is
> Eric Claeys, a former Rehnquist clerk who is now a law professor at
> Louis University, said state court fights in takings claims can
last for years.
> In some states, it would be quicker and better strategy to go
> federal court, if the Supreme Court allows it, he said.
> The ruling was the second in a land rights case. Last month, the
> Court ruled that Hawaii did not overstep its authority in putting
caps on the rent
> paid by dealer-run gas stations, part of an effort to control gas
> The one pending land rights case will determine when local
officials may take
> people's homes and businesses through eminent domain to make way
> development projects like shopping malls. The government is likely
> that case too.
> The Monday case is San Remo Hotel v. City and County of San
> On the Net:
> Supreme Court: http://www.supremecourtus.gov/
> To Your Success!
> R. B. Lee
> (It is not yesterdays regrets, nor tomorrow's challenges that
> the infinite possibility of Today.)