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Major 2A Nationwide Implications: Supreme Court Issues Unanimous 9-0 Decision

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The recent unanimous 9-0 decision by the United States Supreme Court in Dillia v. Texas addressed the issue of whether individuals can sue states in federal court for compensation under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment. The lawsuit stemmed from a 2017 incident in Texas where a highway median barrier, built to prevent flooding during Hurricane Harvey, inadvertently caused damage to private properties by redirecting stormwaters.

Congressional approval

This resulted in significant losses for over 100 landowners in the Houston area, affecting homes, businesses, crops, and livestock. At the heart of the matter is the interpretation of the Takings Clause and whether it inherently allows individuals to directly sue states for compensation without explicit congressional approval.

The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court’s ruling sheds light on this intricate legal question. Texas successfully transferred the case from state to federal court and argued that federal courts lack jurisdiction, contending that the Takings Clause does not empower individuals to sue states without specific authorization from Congress.


The federal district court rejected Texas’s request to dismiss the case, asserting that the Takings Clause is “self-executing” and allows property owners to sue states directly in federal court for fair compensation over property seizures.


Texas then appealed to the Fifth Circuit. In a concise decision, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the district court’s ruling, stating that the Takings Clause, applied to states through the 14th Amendment, does not grant plaintiffs the right to sue states without specific congressional authorization.

The Fifth Circuit

Upon review, the Supreme Court, in a unanimous 9-0 decision, overturned the Fifth Circuit’s decision, permitting the landowners’ case to move forward.

Takings Clause

However, the Court did not definitively address whether the Takings Clause applies “self-executing” against states.

Previous rulings

Justice Alito, writing for the Court, mentioned that previous rulings do not provide a clear answer on whether plaintiffs can sue states directly under the Takings Clause without congressional approval.

Second Amendment

The case was sent back to lower courts for further consideration under Texas state law. The Supreme Court’s ruling in Dillia v. Texas could have implications for lawsuits challenging gun laws based on Second Amendment grounds.

Government actions

Many such cases argue that government actions like confiscation or destruction of firearms violate the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment by not providing compensation.

The Court's decision

The Court’s decision not to definitively address whether the Takings Clause permits individuals to sue states directly in federal court has created uncertainty regarding the legal paths for pursuing takings claims related to Second Amendment rights.

Procedural ambiguity

This procedural ambiguity may pose challenges for plaintiffs seeking to argue takings violations when contesting state gun control laws such as bans on assault weapons, restrictions on magazine capacity, and requirements for firearm registration that could lead to confiscation or destruction of legally-owned firearms and magazines.

Clearer guidance

Until the Supreme Court offers clearer guidance, states could continue to argue that federal courts do not have jurisdiction over direct takings claims against them in Second Amendment cases without explicit congressional authorization for a cause of action.

Complex process

This could result in takings issues in significant gun rights lawsuits being routed through a complex process that starts in state courts before potentially returning to the federal system.


While the ruling in favor of the DeVillier plaintiffs is a win, it leaves uncertainty regarding the constitutional avenues available to pursue takings claims against states in federal court in the absence of a specific statutory cause of action created by Congress.

The legal landscape

Following the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision, the legal landscape continues to evolve and change. Moving ahead, stakeholders must stay alert, advocate for fairness, and uphold the principles outlined in the Constitution.

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