New legislation would prevent ‘Murr’ Cases

Last June, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled against the Murr family in favor of the state of Wisconsin. The Murr’s owned two adjacent river side properties, one vacant, the other with a family cabin that’s been handed down from generation to generation. The State blocked the family from selling the vacant lot arguing the two were actually one, effectively robbing the family of the land’s value without offering compensation, and preventing future development.

While the decision was split in the court, the Murr family are finding support across the nation against the Supreme Court’s decision, even in their home state. Two Republican legislators, Rep. Adam Jarchow and Sen. Tom Tiffany, introduced new bills to make it easier to sell and develop their land. Not only would this bill prevent someone facing the same situation as the Murr’s, but if a court finds that a regulation deprives a landowner of most or all the use of their property the government must pay compensation and rescind the restriction.

The purpose of a government is to safeguard our rights, to uphold our life, liberty, and property. When the government is turned from these ends, and instead uses force to take what rightfully belongs to citizens, it has been entirely turned on its head. The case of the Murr family is one situation where a few carelessly written rules lock everyday Americans into legal battles lasting years on end. By supporting a strong standard of private property rights, and proper legal approaches that recognize limitations to regulating away ownership, we can create a fair society where the law protects the limitless pursuit of happiness rather than hamper citizens with government regulation.