Supreme Court will review Williamson County decision requiring exhaustion of state remedies before bringing a takings claim in federal court

The Supreme Court has taken certiorari in a case that will decide whether to affirm or overrule the holding of Williamson County Regional Planning Comm'n v. Hamilton Bank of Johnson City, 473 U.S. 172 (1985), which held that a property owner must exhaust state remedies before bringing a takings claim in federal court. Because proceedings in state court can be appealed to the Supreme Court, that rule means that the only way to get federal court review of a state takings claim is by getting the Court to accept review on a state supreme court decision, thereby precluding federal input into most takings claims against the states.

The vehicle for reviewing Williamson County isKnick v. Township of Scott, 862 F.3d 310 (3d Cir. 2017), which involved a local law that allowed public officials to enter private property to determine whether a cemetery exists and that required all cemeteries to be open to the public during daylight hours and applied that rule to burial plots in the back yard of a house. The homeowner sought to claim that this amounted to a denial of the right to exclude and was therefore an unconstitutional taking of property in the absence of just compensation. 

See also: Takings