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Dwight Merriam

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse in his recent National Law Journal broadside, “’Knick’-Picking: Why a Recent SCOTUS Ruling Signals a New Day,” goes off the rails in claiming the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Knick v. Township of Scott is the product of five conservative justices ganging up to ignore legal precedent so as to impose their agenda and of “dark money” funding a shadowy coalition of groups bent on remaking the court and influencing it to their ends.

The plain fact is that Williamson County v. Hamilton Bank (1985), the decision the court overruled in Knick, was wrongly decided in the first instance and has proved utterly unworkable. This is not a conservative or liberal issue. It is a question of Constitutional interpretation. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides that no one should have their “private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” What Knick does is protect that right by opening the door to the federal courts.

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