Chapter 12: Stop the Beach Renourishment, Inc. v. Florida Department of Environmental Protection
On Art, Law, and the Power of the Sea
Stop the Beach Renourishment, Inc. v. Florida Department of Environmental Protection, 560 U.S. 702 (2010)
The processes of art and the processes of law are generally believed to be different. Art deals with emotions, intuitions, and unsolved complexities. Law deals with objective facts, transparent argument, and certain rules. This dichotomy between the processes of art and the processes of law is explored in this chapter in the context of Stop the Beach Renourishment, a famous Fifth Amendment takings case in which landowners demanded compensation for the creation of a public beach along their oceanfront properties. The chapter’s exploration uses the Supreme Court’s opinion in the case and a painting capturing the case by artist Xavier Cortada. It concludes that the processes of art and the processes of law are in fact deeply and necessarily entwined.
“Cortada’s painting haunts us. And it haunts the processes of law because it forces us to see the smallness of the world that law is often deemed to be. Although the Supreme Court’s ruminations and decision in Stop the Beach are ‘controlled,’ ‘cerebral,’ and reflect what we expect a court to say, the painting subtly and powerfully indicts the smallness of these processes.”
ABOUT CHAPTER AUTHOR
Laura S. Underkuffler is J. DuPratt White Professor of Law at Cornell University. She holds a J.D. from William Mitchell College of Law and a J.S.D. from Yale University. She is the author of numerous articles on property and constitutional law and of the book The Idea of Property: its Meaning and Power (2003).
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Xavier Cortada is Professor of Practice at the University of Miami Department of Art and Art History. He grew up in Miami and holds degrees from the University of Miami College of Arts and Sciences, School of Law, and Graduate School of Business. His work merges art with other disciplines, including law, science, and politics.