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Do We Really Have Property Rights?

Thu, 05/08/2014

Kentner, et al. v. City of Sanibel: The Kentners challenged an ordinance prohibiting them from building a boat dock for the purpose of protecting seagrasses. The Kentners claimed to have riparian rights, which permit people to make reasonable use of water along their land, and that the ordinance does not advance any legitimate state interest and therefore violates their due process rights. The district court dismissed their claims, finding that riparian rights are premised on state law and therefore are not fundamental rights that can support a substantive due process claim.


Following the principle that substantive due process challenges not involving fundamental rights are reviewed under the rational basis standard, the Eleventh Circuit concluded that the plaintiffs could not show that the ordinance lacks a rational basis. Accordingly, the Court upheld the decision.

Read the full decision here