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Amy Coney Barrett's Only Property Rights Ruling, Careful, Narrow, Deferential

A month ago, Barrett dismissed a challenge to Chicago's deal with the Obama Center by rejecting a very expansive claim of a "taking" under the 5th Amendment and by showing great deference to the city.
September 28, 2020, 10am PDT | William Fulton
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Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump’s nominee to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court, has a thin judicial record on property and environmental issues. Environmental group are excoriating Barrett as a threat to all efforts at environmental protection, particularly combatting climate change. And many environmentalists are concerned that by reducing the number of liberal justices on the high court to three, public-interest-oriented cases in the environmental and property arenas won’t even get a hearing in front of the Supreme Court because it takes four votes to hear a case.

To be sure, Barrett’s confirmation would pull the court in a conservative direction on property and environmental issues. Recently she joined a majority of the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in rejecting the argument that wetlands surrounded by residential development, 11 miles from the nearest navigable waterway, required a federal permit, as the Army Corps of Engineers argued. But she did not write the ruling.

And In the one environmental/property opinion she has written as a member of the Seventh Circuit – issued only a month ago – Barrett rejected a very expansive federal takings claim and showed extreme deference to the City of Chicago. She also showed herself to be extremely careful in her legal reasoning and an unusually clear and accessible writer of judicial opinions.

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Published on Sunday, September 27, 2020 in California Planning & Development Report
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