Environmental Justice

Stop the Beach Renourishment v. Florida Department of Environmental Protection, et al.

Stop the Beach Renourishment v. Florida Department of Environmental Protection is a “judicial takings” case that involves beach restoration and renourishment.

Case Summary

With sea level rise and hurricanes, beaches around the country are eroding rapidly and a number of states have invested heavily in programs to maintain their beaches. Under Florida’s program, the state will agree to rebuild a highly eroded beach area and then maintain the beach to a fixed boundary called the erosion control line. The effect is to change the property boundary between the state land and private property from a variable mean high tide mark to a fixed erosion control line. The landowners challenged this change in property boundaries as a violation of state law in the Florida court system and lost; they sought federal Supreme Court review on the theory that, in denying their state law claims, the Florida Supreme Court so distorted Florida law that the court ruling amounted to a “judicial takings,” a species of takings claim that the U.S. Supreme Court has hinted at, but never officially recognized.

Constitutional Accountability Center (CAC) and the State and Local Legal Center filed a brief in the case on behalf of state and local government organizations, urging the Supreme Court not to create a new doctrine of “judicial takings” because it is unnecessary, impractical, and violates bedrock principles of federalism.

On June 17, 2010, the Supreme Court delivered a unanimous decision in support of Florida’s beach restoration efforts. Read CAC’s press release about the ruling here.

Read more about the case at Text & History.

Case Timeline