Property Rights

Knick v. Scott Township, Pennsylvania

Supreme Court to review federal courts’ “second class” treatment of property rights

Rose Mary Knick owns a quiet, 90-acre, stone-fenced farm in rural eastern Pennsylvania. But the local town government claims that her property might have an old burial ground. According to a local ordinance, that means she must allow unrestricted public access to her private property. In other words, anyone can invade Ms. Knick’s property any time of day to visit a few stones the Township claims may mark an old gravesite.

Ms. Knick tried to challenge this violation of her constitutionally protected property rights in state and federal courts, who claimed they could not hear her suit, effectively shutting the doors to justice. PLF argues that property owners are entitled to their day in federal courts when governments violate their federal rights without paying for it. The U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will hear Rose Mary’s case later this year.

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