10. Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Commission (1992): A developer purchased vacant lots on South Carolina beaches. The state, seeking to prevent beach erosion, passed a management act which prevented Lucas from building homes on the land. That, according to the Supreme Court, was a total destruction of all “economically viable use” and a per se taking. Not only are the case’s factual conclusions implausible, but as UCLA Law professor Jonathan Zasloff notes, the opinion is full of “expressly and needlessly anti-environmental” views.
OK, so here’s another “takings” case. In this case, the state sort of took, and the state was forced to give it back. But I’ve looked around the legal internet and can’t find any respectable discussion of this decision–that is, nothing that argues why, as Casey Sullivan determined, this is tenth of the thirteen worst Supreme Court decisions ever.
I do understand the Supreme Court ran over the state’s desire to protect the beach from erosion. Presumably, the state’s act was environmentally and ecologically sensible. The Supreme Court (actually, the worst of the Supreme Court–you know who I’m talking about) said screw you, State of South Carolina. This guy who bought the fragile land has every right to build on it and further fragilify it. (Yeah, I made up that word.)
Property rights trump (oh, shit, why must this word crop up?) saving the planet.
That’s the most I can wrest out of this but, again, I can’t understand why this decision is considered worse than Bush v Gore or, heaven help us, Citizens United.