A new article on takings from U. Virginia Law School profs Ann Woolhandler and Julia Mahoney in the Notre Dame Law Review, “Federal Courts and Takings Litigation.” Get the pdf here.

Rather than try and summarize the piece, we’re just going to cut-and-paste the highlights from the article’s Introduction:

While Knick clearly expands the lower federal court role in takings claims, many questions remain. We do not know how federal courts will respond to the increase in claims—whether they will embrace a robust federal role in land use cases, or use various abstention doctrines to rein them in. While pro-regulatory and pro-property rights scholars have predictably taken sharply contrasting positions as to the appropriate federal court role post-Knick, this Article will recommend a middle-of-the-road approach, based partly on history and partly on an assessment of where the lower federal courts may most usefully contribute to the fair determination of takings claims.

Going forward after Knick’s overturning Williamson County, we ask: What role should the federal courts play? The demise of Williamson suggests that the federal courts may significantly increase their role in land use decisions, but it may also suggest that they will more actively use abstention doctrines to reduce Knick’s impact. We evaluate the use of Pullman and Burford abstention doctrines in takings claims, and find them inapt. We suggest an abstention doctrine specially for takings cases that would sort out cases where the federal courts are most likely to contribute to fair applications of the law. Finally, we suggest that constitutionally-based actions brought under § 1331 may be better homes for takings cases than § 1983 actions.

[The Article] outlines categories of claims for which lower federal court jurisdiction may be more and less warranted. Finally, it suggests that constitutional claims under the federal question statute rather than § 1983 may be a better vehicle for federal courts takings claims, Knick notwithstanding.

(footnotes omitted).

Highly recommended. [Disclosure: as noted in footnote ** of the piece, we offered our thoughts to the authors on a draft of the article.]