By David Roland | for Freedom Foundation
On Monday, eight of the nine U.S. Supreme Court justices responded to the U.S. government’s efforts to bully property owners by punching the bully square in the nose.
In 1976, the U.S. government granted Melvin Brandt a “land patent” giving him ownership of 83 acres of land in Wyoming. The land was passed to the Brandt family subject only to a few existing limitations, including a railroad right-of-way that ran across it.
In 1996 the railroad company announced that it was abandoning those rights, at which point the right-of-way ceased to exist. By 2004 the railroad’s abandonment of the property was complete.
Two years later, however, the U.S. government announced its intention to convert the old railway lines into publicly-owned trails and it sued Brandt (and a number of other owners of property that used to belong to the government) in order to assert that the government had a preexisting legal right of ownership over the abandoned rail lines.
at Freedom Foundation.
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