High Court sets March 20 to hear PLF’s Murr property rights case — Paradise Lost

The Supreme Court has announced March 20 as the date for oral argument in Pacific Legal Foundation’s high-profile property rights case, Murr v. State of Wisconsin and St. Croix County .  PLF represents a family that has fought all the way to the highest court in the land to stop bureaucrats from robbing them of a family legacy — a vacant parcel along the St. Croix River in Wisconsin that their late parents purchased in the early 1960s as a family investment.



The six children of the late William Murr (a South St. Paul plumber) and his wife, Dorothy, want to sell the vacant parcel, to fund repair of their family’s cabin, which sits on a separate, adjacent lot that their parents bought several years earlier.

But government officials — imposing regulations that weren’t in place when the property was purchased — have forbidden the Murrs from selling or making any productive use of the vacant parcel.  To avoid liability for an unconstitutional taking, officials are arbitrarily treating both lots as if they were a single unified parcel, even though the two parcels were bought by the Murrs’ parents at different times and are legally distinct.

Represented by PLF attorneys, the Murrs’ case poses a precedent-setting question:  Can government take property without compensation simply because the owner happens to also own adjacent land?  Are people denied constitutional protections for their property rights if government decides they own “too much” property?

“It will be a privilege to argue this important property rights case before the nation’s highest court on March 20,” said PLF General Counsel John Groen, who will present oral argument on behalf of the Murr family.  “This is about justice for a family that has been wronged by local land use regulations, but it is also about everyone’s property rights, from coast to coast.  We are seeking to reaffirm that government can’t use creative regulatory maneuvers to take property without compensation.”

“My entire family is so excited to hear the news that our case is scheduled to be heard before the Supreme Court on March 20th,” said Donna Murr, one of the six Murr siblings.  “We have been patiently waiting for this news for over a year, and cannot wait to start making plans for our trip to Washington D.C.  We hope to have as many of mom and dad’s children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren present for the oral arguments as possible.  We remain eternally grateful to Pacific Legal Foundation for believing in and taking our case, and we continue to be optimistic for a favorable outcome.”

The PLF case is Murr v. State of Wisconsin and St. Croix County.   More information, including PLF’s briefs, a podcast, and explanatory blog posts, along with our video, is available at:  www.pacificlegal.org.

About Pacific Legal Foundation

Pacific Legal Foundation, America’s most powerful ally for justice, litigates in courts nationwide for limited government, property rights, individual liberty, and a balanced approach to environmental regulations.

PLF has won nine consecutive cases before the Supreme Court.  It is currently representing clients in two cases that are expected to be argued and decided in the Supreme Court by June:  The property rights case of Murr v. Wisconsin and St. Croix County, and the Clean Water Act case of National Association of Manufacturers v. U.S. Department of DefensePLF represents all clients free of charge.

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William Hicks

This could be an interesting precedent set that may apply to many aspects of SOAR or similar government land grab’s.