The Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that the federal government may be required to pay damages when it releases water from a dam that causes temporary flooding for a property owner downstream.
The 8-0 ruling carries potential significance for future cases involving temporary seizure (or” taking”) of property.
The case looked at the politically charged issue of when government activity that affects private property constitutes a “taking” that requires payment to a landowner.
The 5th Amendment states that the government must pay owners of private property that it takes for public purposes.
Writing for a unanimous court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said temporary flooding of private land by the government is “not categorically exempt” from liability under the 5th Amendment’s Takings Clause.