Federal Supreme Court rules for land owner 8-1.

Federal Supreme Court rules for land owner 8-1.

Posted by nmillerpls on Mar 11, 2014 5:03 pm

http://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/12-1173#writing-12-1173_OPINION_3

Some of those trails out there on old RR ROW may be on private land.  Of course the President's appointee dissented against private ownership.
Norm Miller

Re: Federal Supreme Court rules for land owner 8-1.

Posted by MLB on Mar 11, 2014 5:49 pm

The "Wise, Latina Woman" was treating the case like a Spanish Land Grant. She is a "Big Government" advocate. The Majority Opinion is well reasoned. The 1875 Legislation sought to curb the runaway power originally ceded to the railroads which was known to be frought with abuse. Even today, some railroads are known to exert authority that many consider questionable. If you have ever worked within their rights of way you surely know what I mean.

If this ruling impacts programs like "Rails to Trails" the government has other remedies available. Many of these abandoned corridors lie within lands already in federal ownership. In that regard, this decision could save a lot of future paperwork.
MLB

Re: Federal Supreme Court rules for land owner 8-1.

Posted by Charlie Tucker on Mar 20, 2014 12:08 am

This ruling winds up being rather narrow in scope and has little effect on conventional rail-trails/ rail banking under 16USC1247(d)...It affects maybe a dozen trails at most and is aimed at the rights of the sovereign (Uncle Sam & his USFS). If the Forest Service had not pushed so hard for Brandt (and his neighbors) to quitclaim their right and title and just left things as a rail-trail, the lawsuit may never have happened. This decision attacked 16USC1248 and you can see the Justice Dept waving their finger at the Legislative Branch telling them they cant have it both ways.

(IF this thing really gets pushed, the railroad industry is about to see a windfall in the guise of a massive tax refund over 100+ years in the making?)

There eventually will be cases working their way through the system that may begin to address the mess created in the 1970's in the Interim Trail Use / Railbanking acts. It needs to happen. Both sides of the argument keep wandering off into hyperbole, hysterics and old wives tales. (and we think the public's grasp of adverse possession & condemnation is out of sorts.....)