Supreme Court ruling could get property owners payments when agencies flood their lands
WASHINGTON — Private property owners might deserve payment when public agencies temporarily flood their land, the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday in a case closely watched by farmers around the country.
Pleasing property-rights advocates, the court emphatically declared in an 8-0 decision that even temporary flooding can amount to a “taking” for which the Constitution requires compensation. The ruling in a case that arose from Arkansas will reach everywhere that government actions affect waterways.
“Because government-induced flooding can constitute a taking of property and, because a taking need not be permanent to be compensable, government-induced flooding of limited duration may be compensable,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote.
A stalwart of the court's liberal wing, Ginsburg nonetheless led conservatives as well in rejecting the Obama administration's insistence that temporary floods should be exempt from the Fifth Amendment's requirement that private property won't “be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
The 19-page ruling means that the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission might get paid for the Black River flooding damage that resulted when the Army Corps of Engineers released water from the Clearwater Dam in neighboring Missouri. From 1993 to 2000, the flooding wiped out more than 18 million board feet of timber in a wildlife management area about 115 miles from the dam.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- U.S., Cuba to announce plan to open embassies
- Charter lapses for Export-Import Bank; conservatives vow to block revival in House
- NSA resumes collection of phone data
- White House intruders beware: Spikes planned
- Supreme Court to take up mandated dues for public employees unions in next term
- FDA review of OxyContin abuse-deterrent version put on hold by maker
- Emails from Clinton’s first year as secretary of State out
- Counties defy same-sex marriage ruling
- New York prison chief, 11 employees put on leave in escape
- Nike’s chairman plans to step aside
- Ten Commandments monument orderered removed from Oklahoma Capitol grounds