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Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council

United States Supreme Court
505 U.S. 1003 (1992)



In 1986, David Lucas (plaintiff) paid $975,000 for two residential lots on the Isle of Palms in South Carolina. The lots consisted of beachfront property on which Lucas intended to build single-family homes. In 1988, however, South Carolina enacted the Beachfront Management Act which barred Lucas from building any permanent habitable structures on his two lots. Lucas brought suit against the South Carolina Coastal Council (defendant) in the South Carolina Court of Common Pleas on the grounds that the Act constituted a taking of his property for a public use that required just compensation under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. The court found that the Act rendered Lucas’ property completely valueless and thus the application of the Act constituted a taking of Lucas’ property that required payment of just compensation. It awarded damages, and the South Carolina Coastal Council appealed. The South Carolina Supreme Court reversed, and the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Scalia, J.)

Concurrence (Kennedy, J.)

Dissent (Souter, J.)

Dissent (Blackmun, J.)

Dissent (Stevens, J.)

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