FIRST ENG. EVAN. LUTH. CHURCH v. LOS ANGELES

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
85-1199
Appellee 
Los Angeles
Appellant 
First Eng. Evan. Luth. Church
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the appellant)
(Argued the cause for the appellee)
Tags
Term:
Facts of the Case 

In 1979, the County of Los Angeles passed an ordinance which prohibited construction or reconstruction on land which had been devastated by a flood one year earlier. The First English Evangelical Lutheran Church owned a campground which was affected by this ordinance and it was not allowed to reconstruct buildings on this land which the flood had destroyed.

Question 

Did the ordinance violate the Fifth Amendment (as applied to the states through the Fourteenth) which prevents government from taking private property for public use without providing just compensation to the owner of the property?

Conclusion 
Decision: 6 votes for First Eng. Evan. Luth. Church, 3 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Takings Clause

The Court held that the ordinance violated the Constitution. Noting that the fate of the Church's property had been in limbo for over six years (the suit which it had filed in 1979 had been denied a hearing as late as October of 1985), Chief Justice Rehnquist argued that, because the church was unable to use its property during this time, a "taking" of the property had occurred. Thus, the Just Compensation Clause of the Fifth Amendment required the government to exercise one of a number of "options" such as amending the regulation or fair payment for the use of the property in order to protect the Church's constitutional rights.

Cite this Page
FIRST ENG. EVAN. LUTH. CHURCH v. LOS ANGELES. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 10 November 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1986/1986_85_1199>.
FIRST ENG. EVAN. LUTH. CHURCH v. LOS ANGELES, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1986/1986_85_1199 (last visited November 10, 2014).
"FIRST ENG. EVAN. LUTH. CHURCH v. LOS ANGELES," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed November 10, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1986/1986_85_1199.