This is a really bad decision by the court.
8-1 is hardly a partisan decision. Government hubris is held in check.
I think this is great. The government is always so heavy and high
handed in deciding that individual rights don't matter--only what the
government decides to take. I'm so glad the justices did what's
right. I hope the government has to compensate thousands of owners and give
their lands back. One small step in restoring individual rights.
The people won a round! We used to be a country where the people told the
government what it could and could not do, now with very few exceptions, its the
other way around! Great victory for people!
I'm fairly certain an easement of some sort will be in the works and
negotiation concerning the trails.
Article quotes: "The justices ruled 8-1 that property owner Marvin Brandt
remains the owner of a 200-foot-wide trail that crosses his 83-acre parcel in
southern Wyoming's Medicine Bow National Forest. The trail once was the
path of a railroad and is among thousands of miles of abandoned railroads that
have been converted to recreational trails. ....... Justice Sonia Sotomayor
said in dissent the court's decision "undermines the legality of
thousands of miles of former rights of way that the public now enjoys as means
of transportation and recreation."So, when is YOUR land NOT your
land?Apparently when Sonia Sotomayor says it isn't.What a croc!I'm amazed that the other liberal judges voted
against Sotomayor.Score one for the American citizen!
I'm not sure it's a 'win' for anyone. It's a decision.
I don't believe the government held onto abandoned railway rights of way
with some sort malicious intent to lord it over the citizenry. Historically, the
government created the rights of way in the first place, and I'm not sure
of what's contained in the 1875 law that is interpreted as showing they
need to give up these parcels now. It must be well written to get an 8-1
decision. I wonder, if the right of way forms the boundary between two
landowners, do they split it? And, does the liability for past use of the rights
of way pass on to the landowners? Suppose there had been a chemical spill in the
past from a rail car for example, which surfaces to contaminate groundwater in
the future. I guess the other loss is the potential to ever use these corridors
for a trail system of any kind; that will never be available again.
That decision does *not* close down the trail system --- it reinforces the
property rights and opens the door to proper imminent domain process/ payment.
"So, when is YOUR land NOT your land?""The people won a
round!"It's interesting the people who post comments in
favor of this ruling seem to have no problem with 'the people' losing
their land to a foreign corporation through eminent domain seizures.Private property owners defending rights over a trail system -
"them's true conservative Americans"Private property
owners defending rights over TransCanada's Keystone pipeline -
"nothing but liberals"At least there's consistency in
Good, maybe a bankrupt federal government won't be so prone to infringe on
our individual rights.
I find it odd that so many hate government, when government is the voice of the
people. If you don't like how that voice is being used, then
get involved and change it.Many of the people who hate government
are the same ones who want to privatize every public good. The problem is that
it's the private hands that are the ones dipping into Uncle Sam's
pockets. How else do you explain the KL Pipeline? It's not about
what's good for America. It's about what's good for the big
A Wyoming private property owner said, "NO. I own this land." Oddly,
the US Supreme Court confirmed his position. 70% of Utah is government owned.
30% is private and controlled by government city, county, and state land use
regulations.Salt Lake County has a similar issue as Wyoming. 20% of
the local canyons like Big Cottonwood and Little Cottonwood Canyon are private
property, but this fact is not well known, published on Forest Service, State
Recreation, or signs at the mouth of canyons.Canyon lovers are ok
with unlimited public development like trails, bike lanes, back country ski
areas, camp sites, picnic areas, toilets, etc.Canyon lovers are
against all private land owners from having cabins on land that's been in
the family for 40 years.Public "officials" desire to use
private property or another man’s money for “their” vision of
the world.Long needed canyon improvements-1-Put up
educational signs that 20% of canyon land is Private and post on public
websites.2-Allow reasonable public and private uses. Don't
regulate private property into public property with phony land protection
regulations.3-Have an easy process to trade private property of of
high use public lands area.
Just wait til they come to take your property and it may not be just for public
use. But that's o.k, you'll love that bike trail through your back
yard. You can ride on it to work! You could even use your new electric bike.
But, if you get caught in an unexpected snow storm be sure you don't use
wood for a fire to keep from freezing to death. Your Government is only here to
The federal government once owned the land, but deeded it away to private
parties--the government created and deeded to the railroads permanent easements
across the lands in return for installing tracks; homesteaders farmed the lands
and the government issued them patents to the lands, subject to the railroad
easements. When the railroads abandon their easements, the easement rights
revert to the private owners of the land, not the federal government, which
already conveyed away all their interest.Sotomayor mistakenly thinks
that merely seizing the land without compensation and dedicating it to public
rights-of-way can extinguish a private property interest. She needs to study up
on the due process clause. If the public needs it, the public should pay for it.
Two outcomes come from this ruling, it dampens attempts of the federal
government to overstep and assert ownership on the thinnest thread of theory.
Secondly, it demonstrates the liberal mind of Justice Soto Mayor in contending
that this ruling was bad because of the outcome (i.e. the government owing to
pay landowners if it wanted, and was entitled to assert eminent domain over
private property)and because there was a public interest use of the property
(not owned by the government) which it had placed on private property. This
demonstrates her unfitness to serve as the function of the Court is to apply
existing law as established by precedent and resolve new issues which have not
been addressed. There is no argument which would allow the government to take
this property without compensation in any legal precedent or authority, but that
is what Soto Mayor asserts.Justices should only be appointed and
confirmed who abide the fundamentals of the concepts of the Constitution. The
progressive view of a Constitution which should be changed by popular view, or
social evolution simply cannot be used if the nation is to continue in freedom
and liberty for the individual.
After reading the comments I am thinking this is less about a victory against
anything like the government and more a victory for due process and respect for
rule of law. If the government just takes something because they're big
and powerful, then that's tyranny. If they work to establish public
interests through respectful deliberations within the law, then that's rule
of law.In the reality of competing interests the law helps create
the framework for working things out through compensation, negotiations, and
recognition of ownership. Then we're balancing between competing
interests, not "winning" or defeating our opponents.