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Nollan v. California Coastal Commission

Significance, Mr. And Mrs. Nollan Build Their Dream Home, Limits On The State's Power To Take


James and Marilyn Nollan


California Coastal Commission

Appellant's Claim

That a stipulation by the California Coastal Commission, whereby the appellant was required to grant the public an easement to pass across their beachfront property, constituted a violation of the Takings Clause in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.

Chief Lawyer for Appellant

Robert K. Best

Chief Lawyer for Appellee

Andrea Sheridan Ordin, Chief Assistant Attorney General of California

Justices for the Court

Sandra Day O'Connor, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., William H. Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia (writing for the Court), Byron R. White

Justices Dissenting

Harry A. Blackmun, William J. Brennan, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, John Paul Stevens


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

26 June 1987


The Court ruled that although the commission's conditioning of appellant's rebuilding permit on the granting of a public easement might have been lawful if it had "substantially furthered governmental purposes," the measure in question did not. Rather, it constituted a violation of the Takings Clause in the Fifth Amendment, and was therefore struck down by the Court.

Further Readings

  • Hall, Kermit L., ed. The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.
  • Witt, Elder. Congressional Quarterly's Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court, 2nd ed. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, Inc., 1990.
  • Witt, Elder. The Supreme Court A to Z. CQ's Encyclopedia of American Government, rev. ed. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, Inc., 1994.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1981 to 1988