Owning property in America should bring you security, stability, and a sense of pride. It shouldn’t lock you into a yearslong legal battle with your own government. But all too often, that’s what happens.
Join Pacific Legal Foundation on Thursday, November 10 to discuss the precarious future of property rights. We’ll focus on two PLF cases going before the Supreme Court this term in which homeowners are battling federal agencies for the right to use and enjoy their own property:
- Sackett v. EPA: On October 3, PLF argued the case of Mike and Chantell Sackett, an Idaho couple who started building their dream home 15 years ago in an Idaho subdivision—only to be promptly blocked by the EPA, which claims the Sacketts’ residential lot is regulable as “navigable waters” under the Clean Water Act. Sackett v. EPA brings the EPA’s campaign of aggressive overreach into direct conflict with fundamental property rights—with far-reaching implications.
- Wilkins v. USA: On Wednesday, November 30, PLF will be back at the Court representing Larry “Wil” Wilkins and his neighbor Jane Stanton, both homeowners in Montana’s Bitterroot National Forest. Wil and Jane value their privacy; Will suffers from PTSD, and Jane is a widow. But the U.S. Forest Service destroyed their sanctuary when it opened a nearby road to the public, violating a 1962 access agreement that limited the road’s use to timber harvesting. Wilkins v. USA centers on the government’s bait-and-switch move, which will discourage future land agreements with the federal government.
If the government can unilaterally change one public access agreement, how secure are other agreements? If the EPA can prevent construction on residential property that is merely “soggy,” as the Ninth Circuit put it, how many more acres of land will the agency try to control?
Join our panel discussion as attorneys explore these questions and try to scope out the future of private property regulation in America.