Among this morning’s four cert grants was Stop the Beach Renourishment v. Florida Department of Environmental Protection, a challenge to the constitutionality of Florida’s Beach and Shore Preservation Act. Specifically, the petition challenges the Supreme Court of Flordia’s conclusion that the law does not deprive upland owners of littoral rights without just compensation in violation of the Fifth Amendment’s takings clause. The Florida Supreme Court’s 5-2 decision is here.
Although the property owners’ cert petition was supported by the Pacific Legal Foundation, it was not viewed as a likely cert grant. The good folks at SCOTUSBlog, for instance, did not have the case on their “petitions to watch” list. To be fair, it’s not clear the good folks at PLF thought the case was a likely grant either, as there is relatively little about it on their website. Yet from my first look, it appears to me that this case could be quite significant. If nothing else, it will give us our first glimpse of how Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Alito, and (in all likelihood) Justice Sotomayor view takings issues.
On a related note, the NYT reports today that property rights may be a significant issue during the Sotomayor confirmation hearings and quotes some George Mason law prof as an authority on eminent domain.
UPDATE: Links to the cert briefs in this case can now be found on SCOTUSBlog here.
SECOND UPDATE: Speaking of takings cases, I have a short essay in PERC Reports on Casitas Municipal Water District v. United States, another significant takings case that could find its way before the Supreme Court.
YET ANOTHER UPDATE: The Pacific Legal Foundation applauds the Court’s decision to accept cert here. Meanwhile, Richard Frank offers some thoughts on the cert grant, and ponders whether the Court will hear the Casitas case as well.