This morning the Supreme Court issued orders from its conference last Friday, but the justices did not add any new cases to their merits docket for the term.
The justices declined to take up the property-rights question presented by a California case, 616 Croft Avenue v. West Hollywood, that they had considered at four consecutive conferences before finally denying review today. The dispute dates back to 2004, when a California couple applied to the city of West Hollywood for permission to redevelop two single-family houses into an 11-unit condominium complex. The city council approved the project, observing that it would provide “11 families with a high-quality living environment.” But, following a city housing ordinance, the council also required the couple to pay an “affordable housing fee” of over $500,000.
The couple argued that the fee was invalid under the Supreme Court’s property-rights decisions, which limit the government’s ability to condition approval of a permit on a requirement that the property owner allow the public to use the land. The California state courts rejected that claim, relying on a series of California cases holding that those limits do not apply when a fee is imposed by a generally applicable law. With today’s announcement that the Supreme Court will not intervene, the ruling in favor of the city will now stand.
The justices apparently did not act on several cases that they had carried over to last Friday’s meeting from earlier conferences – most notably, a trio of challenges by “crisis pregnancy centers,” nonprofits that try to steer pregnant women away from having abortions, to a California law that requires them to provide notices to the women who seek their services. The justices have now considered these cases at three conferences without acting on them.
The justices will meet again for another conference on Friday, November 3.
This post was also republished on SCOTUSblog.