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Utah Joins California on Federalism Issue

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 7, 2018

UTAH JOINS CALIFORNIA ON FEDERALISM ISSUE
Eighteen states urge U.S. Supreme Court to follow 1985 precedent

SALT LAKE CITY – Today, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes announced Utah has joined California and sixteen other states asking the Supreme Court of the United States to uphold a Third Circuit Court of Appeals decision stating land use regulation and state property law cases should be heard in state courts before moving into the federal court system.

“From time to time, Utah and California interpret the constitution differently,” said AG Reyes. “In this case, however, we agree that questions about state property laws and land use regulations should be heard in a state court first. Local self-governance, especially on land use issues, is an American principle of federalism we need to preserve.”

The bipartisan coalition hopes the U.S. Supreme Court will affirm the appeals court ruling and the 1985 high court precedent prohibiting landowners from litigating takings claims in federal court until they have exhausted all avenues at the state level. The coalition of states contend that state courts are best situated to resolve complex, local conflicts – especially when individual rights and the needs of the community may be in tension.

The case involves Rose Mary Knick, owner of 90 acres of rural land in eastern Pennsylvania, and the Township of Scott, Pennsylvania. Knick alleged the violation of her Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights and appealed the Third Circuit Court of Appeals before exhausting state-law remedies. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments of Knick v. Township of Scott in their next session.

Utah joined the California-led brief along with attorneys general from Delaware, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia.

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NOTES:

1. You can review the amicus brief here: https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/17-647-Knick-v.-Township-of-Scott-Amicus-Brief.pdf.

2. For more information on the details of Knick v. Township of Scott, see 
SCOTUSblog: http://www.scotusblog.com/2018/03/justices-grant-review-two-new-cases & Oyez: https://www.oyez.org/cases/2018/17-647.

3. The AG’s office published a blog explaining its stance. You can read that here: https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/statebeforefed/.

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