National Board of Young Men's Christian Associations v. United States/Dissent Black

Court Documents
Case Syllabus
Opinion of the Court
Concurring Opinions
Stewart
Harlan
Dissenting Opinion
Black

United States Supreme Court

395 U.S. 85

The NATIONAL BOARD OF YOUNG MEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATIONS et al., Petitioners,  v.  UNITED STATES.

 Argued: March 3, 1969. --- Decided: May 19, 1969


Mr. Justice BLACK, with whom Mr. Justice DOUGLAS joins, dissenting.

The Court says that: 'Shortly after midnight, Colonel Sachse moved his troops inside the three buildings (which included the two buildings for which compensation is here sought) so that the men might be better protected from the sniper fire.' Ante, at 87. The Army selected those two buildings to protect itself while carrying out its mission of safeguarding the entire zone from the rioters. Thus, the Army made the two buildings the particular targets of the rioters and the buildings suffered heavy damage. The Army's action was taken not to save the buildings but to use them as a shelter and fortress from which, as the Court of Claims found, 'tos eal off the border from further incursions by the rioters into the Atlantic portion of the Canal Zone.' 396 F.2d 467, 474, 184 Ct.Cl. 427, 438 (1968). At that time, I think it can hardly be said that these private buildings were taken for the good of the owners. Instead, the taking by the Army was for the benefit of the public generally. I still feel that 'the guiding principle should be this: Whenever the Government determines that one person's property-whatever it may be-is essential to the war effort and appropriates it for the common good, the public purse, rather than the individual, should bear the loss.' United States v. Caltex, Inc., 344 U.S. 149, 156, 73 S.Ct. 200, 204, 97 L.Ed. 157 (1952) (dissenting opinion of Mr. Justice Douglas).

NotesEdit

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).