Murr v. Wisconsin 582 U.S. ___ (2017)
"In a regulatory takings case, two legally distinct but commonly owned contiguous parcels should be combined for takings analysis purposes. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy delivered the opinion for the 5-3 majority. The Court held that, while generally governmental regulation of property was not a taking, regulation could be so burdensome that it became a taking. The analysis essentially required courts to balance the rights of property ownership against the government’s power to adjust rights for the good of the public, which is a fact-intensive inquiry. In order to properly conduct this inquiry, it was necessary to define the scope of the relevant property. The Court had determined that two approaches did not adequately protect the property rights at stake: defining the property as only the portion targeted by the challenged regulation and allowing state law to define the property. Instead, courts should consider factors such as the treatment of land under state and local law, the physical characteristics of the land, and the prospective value of the regulated land. This inquiry was objective and examined the landowner’s reasonable expectation about whether the property at issue would be treated as a single parcel or separate ones. In this case, the proper application of these factors meant that the parcels in question should be evaluated as a single unit for takings analysis purposes.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. wrote a dissent in which he argued that the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment applied to established private property rights, which had historically been defined by state law. Because the analysis of whether a regulation constituted a taking required the examination of the impact of the regulation on a property right, there was an incentive for property owners to define the relevant property rights narrowly to maximize the impact of the regulation.