The Obama administration thinks that it has a cute way around the takings clause in the Constitution
The Barack Obama administration tried last week to convince the U.S. Supreme Court that the federal government can deny landowners the use of their property for years -- decades if need be -- without ever paying compensation.
Deputy Solicitor General Edwin Kneedler advanced this remarkable proposition during oral argument in Arkansas Game and Fish Commission v. United States, a case involving the damage wrought by the Army Corps of Engineers in its operation of the Clearwater Dam in Arkansas.
From 1993 to 2000, the Corps’s management of the dam caused regular flooding of a 23,000-acre wildlife management area, killing trees and depriving the commission of revenue from timber sales. . . .
“It would be a very curious and unsatisfactory result,” the court said in Pumpelly, if the state could evade the just compensation requirement of the Fifth Amendment simply because it had not taken property “in the narrowest sense of the word.” . . . .