ARKANSAS GAME & FISH COMMISSION v. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
11-597
Petitioner 
Arkansas Game & Fish Commission
Respondent 
United States
Decided By 
Advocates
(f0r the petitioner)
(Deputy Solicitor General, Department of Justice, for the respondent)
Term:
Facts of the Case 

From 1993 through 2000, the United States Army Corps of Engineers imposed a temporary flood regime around the Dave Donaldson Black River Wildlife Management Area. The flood regime caused flooding across the region encompassed by the wildlife management area, which restricted access to and destroyed or degraded thousands of timber trees.

The petitioners brought a case in federal court in an attempt to recover under the takings clause of the Fifth Amendment for the loss of their property resulting from the United State’s flood regime. The federal court held that the flood regime constituted a Fifth Amendment taking and that the United States owed petitioners approximately $5.6 million as just compensation.

The government appealed, and the appellate court reversed the lower court’s judgment. The appellate court reasoned that the flood regime was a temporary government action, and that only a permanent flooding condition would constitute a taking under the Fifth Amendment. The petitioners appealed the appellate court’s decision.

Question 

Is the United States liable under the Fifth Amendment's takings clause for physically taking property through temporary flood invasions?

Conclusion 
Decision: 8 votes for Arkansas Game & Fish Commission, 0 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Fifth Amendment-Takings Clause

Yes, in some cases. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing for an 8-0 majority, reversed the Federal Circuit and remanded for further proceedings. The Supreme Court held that there is no temporary flooding exception to the Takings Clause. Prior precedent clearly establishes that a temporary interference with property can constitute a compensable taking. The length and severity of the interference is just one factor among many a court must consider when determining whether a specific action was a taking. Other factors include the intent behind the action and the degree to which the interference was a foreseeable result of an authorized government action. On remand, the Federal Circuit must decide whether the circumstances in this case constituted a Fifth Amendment taking.

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ARKANSAS GAME & FISH COMMISSION v. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 25 October 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/2010-2019/2012/2012_11_597>.
ARKANSAS GAME & FISH COMMISSION v. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2010-2019/2012/2012_11_597 (last visited October 25, 2014).
"ARKANSAS GAME & FISH COMMISSION v. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed October 25, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2010-2019/2012/2012_11_597.