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House passes property rights bill

[JURIST] The US House of Representatives passed a property rights bill Friday night that its proponents say will provide easier access to federal courts for landowners seeking to challenge governmental actions under the Takings Clause [text] of the Fifth Amendment. The Private Property Rights Implementation Act of 2006 [HR 4772 text, PDF], which the House initially failed to pass [JURIST report] on Tuesday under a special rules suspension procedure [CRS backgrounder] usually reserved for uncontroversial bills, went to the Senate following the 231-181 vote [roll call].

Opponents say the legislation is troubling because large developers with significant financial resources who are unhappy with unfavorable local zoning decisions will be able to strongarm localities who cannot afford to litigate every zoning decision in federal courts. Bill sponsor Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) [official website] says the proposed legislation is a reaction to the Supreme Court decision in San Remo Hotel v. San Francisco [Duke Law case backgrounder; opinion text, PDF], where the Court held that federal courts must give full faith and credit to final decisions rendered by state courts made solely under state law where litigants also brought federal Takings claims. A cost estimate [PDF text] released by the Congressional Budget Office suggests that such legislation would increase both the caseload of the federal courts and the number of claims brought against the United States government. No Senate action was expected on the measure prior to adjournment. The Washington Times has more. The Washington Post has additional coverage.

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