In two previous posts I discussed a case, Mt. Holly v. Mt. Holly Gardens Citizens in Action, Inc., which was to be argued before the Supreme Court. The case was settled before arguments before the Court were made, and on November 13, 2012 the Court dismissed the grant of certiorari (pursuant to rule 46). The terms of the settlement require Mount Holly Township to build 44 homes in the blighted area (for details see my earlier post, here), including 20 for families living in the Gardens. Additionally, the township will provide financial compensation to families who chose to leave the neighborhood. Perhaps most importantly, no citizens will be forced to leave the community to make room for redevelopment. Olga Palmer, one of the attorneys who represented the plaintiffs, said “This is what the plaintiffs have always wanted: to be able to stay in their community once it’s been revitalized” (quoted in the Philadelphia Inquirer). The settlement, of course, means that the Court will not be revisiting the disparate impact claim I discussed in the earlier post. By all accounts, the settlement represents a clear victory for the citizens of Mount Holly Gardens. Palmer argues that problems like the one faced by the Mount Holly community could be avoided in the future by adopting inclusive redevelopment strategies and policies that do not “forcibly push out people from the community where they live” (quoted in an audio slideshow published at SCOTUSblog).
Awhile back, I posted a discussion about Brandt v. US. Those of you interested in the topic will be interested to hear that today in Jurist, Brian T. Hodges of the Pacific Legal Foundation posted his analysis of the case and where he hopes the Court will go. His bottom line is in his last paragraph:
“The nation would reap a bitter harvest from Tenth Circuit’s rule. Instead of being safe and assured, any property purchased from the United States would be subject to the fluctuating policies of the government. Any short-term fiscal benefits that judicial recognition of an ‘implied reversionary interest’ would provide to the federal government would not be worth the long-term consequences. And, for that reason alone, the US Supreme Court should resolve Brandt in accordance with the common law rules and definitions of property.”
Full citation to the article: Brian T. Hodges, Brandt v. United States: Should the Common Law of Property be Scrapped?, JURIST – Hotline, Nov. 1, 2013, http://jurist.org/hotline/2013/11/brian-hodges-rail-to-trail.php.