Procedural Guarantees

Siena Corporation v. Mayor and City Council of Rockville, Maryland

Courts must not determine a law’s constitutionality based solely on government assurances of good will

Siena Corporation wanted to build a self-storage facility in Rockville, Maryland, but was thwarted when the city, at the behest of NIMBY neighbors, adopted a last-minute zoning change preventing the project. Siena sued but the district court upheld the zoning change as a “rational” exercise of the city’s police power. Siena appealed, arguing that the Due Process Clause of the Constitution and its right to earn a living were violated and that the court must look beyond the government’s bare assertion that it had a good reason for its actions. PLF filed an amicus brief arguing that constitutional protections mean little if the courts are willing to rubber-stamp government action.

Read more