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Kagan Key in Takings Forum Dispute

Justice Elena Kagan appears to be the deciding vote in whether to overturn a more than 30-year-old decision that opponents say closes the federal courthouse to many citizens whose private property is taken by government for federal use.

The case highlights the importance of Kagan on an eight-member court. She most often votes with her more liberal colleagues, but sometimes swings to the other side.

With the court sitting shorthanded, the opponents of Williamson County Regional Planning Commission v.Hamilton Bank of Johnson City must get five of the current eight justices on their side to overturn the longtime precedent.

They ...