Pennsylvania Coal Company v.
Court of the
Johnson, pp. 820-824
Facts: The Pennsylvania Coal
Company was going to mine some coal out from under
Issue: Does the state police power stretch so far as to allow the destruction of “previously existing rights of property and contract”?
Rule: In general, “if regulation goes too far”, it will be considered a taking.
Analysis: Holmes basically argues
that taking away the right to mine the coal by statute is more or less like
taking away the coal, period. He argues
that if you didn’t want to have your house sink,
In his dissent, Brandeis says that any government regulation, no matter how minimal, will deprive a property owner of a right, but that doesn’t mean we’re always going to compensate the owner. Brandeis says the government has the power to regulate the use of private property in the interest of “public health, safety, or morals” without compensating the owner.
Conclusion: The decree of the state supreme court is reversed.