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Palazzolo v. Rhode Island

United States Supreme Court
533 U.S. 606 (2001)


Facts

Anthony Palazzolo (plaintiff) owned a waterfront parcel of land in the town of Westerly, located in the State of Rhode Island (defendant). Nearly all of Palazzolo’s property was designated as coastal wetlands under Rhode Island law. The property was designated as such when Palazzolo acquired it, and the effect of such a designation was to prohibit the development of the property. Despite the designation, Palazzolo submitted several proposals to the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council, the state organization responsible for protecting wetlands, seeking permission to fill the marshes located on his property and develop it for public use. The Council denied all of Palazzolo’s proposals, and he filed suit in Rhode Island state court on the grounds that the Council’s application of its restrictive wetlands policies and denial of his proposals constituted a taking of his property without just compensation in violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. The Superior Court of Rhode Island rejected Palazzolo’s claim, and he appealed. The Supreme Court of Rhode Island also rejected Palazzolo’s claim on multiple grounds. It held that his takings claim was not ripe, that he had no right to challenge land regulations in place on his property at the time he acquired it. The court held further that the Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Commission, 505 U.S. 1003 (1992), ruling did not apply because Palazzolo had not lost all economically beneficial use of his property. The court found that Palazzolo could develop an upland portion generating $200,000 in revenue. Palazzolo sought further review and the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Kennedy, J.)

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Concurrence (Scalia, J.)

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Dissent (Ginsburg, J.)

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Dissent (Breyer, J.)

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