3 U.S. JUDGES HEAR PARK CASE TODAY
Validity of Land Condemnation Act Will be Argued in Federal Court
A three-judge court, headed by Judge John Parker, of the United States Circuit of Appeals, will sit here to hear arguments on the constitutionality of the Virginia national park condemnation act and the right of the Virginia Conservation and Development Commission to evict property owners of the Blue Ridge Mountain area to establish the Shenandoah National Park.
Associated with Judge Parker will be Judge William C. Coleman, of Baltimore, and Judge John Paul, of the home court, who asked that other judges be associated with him in hearing the arguments.
Attorney Robert Hughes, of Washington, as counsel for Robert H. Via, of Hershey Pa., owner of a 150-acre farm on top of the Blue Ridge mountains in Albemarle county, will ask that an injunction be granted to restrain the State Conservation and Development Commission from evicting him from his and which has been condemned for park purposes.
Judge A.C. Carson of Riverton, and W.C. Armstrong, of Front Royal, counsel for the Conservation and Development Commission, will argue that Via's land was condemned under the terms of the Virginia park condemnation act, that he had due process of law, and that there is nothing in the statute to make it unconstitutional.
Deeds for the 175,000-acre park area, extending from Front Royal to Waynesboro, have been tendered Secretary Ickes of the department of Interior, and are now being examined by government attorneys. Via has filed suit also in the District of Columbia supreme court for an injunction to prevent the secretary from accepting the deeds as the deeds as the title is not clear.
This is the first time in years that a three-judge court has appeared here. It is explained that it is usual in such injunction proceedings to have three judges hear the arguments. A request for a three-judge court was included in the bill filed by Via.
Via contends that his property is worth in excess of $15,000, that he was not notified of the condemnation proceedings, and that he was allowed only $3,200 for his property.
The State Conservation and Development Commission which handled the park condemnation for the State of Virginia, contends that it acted under the provision of the Virginia statutes, that these acts do not violate any provisions of the constitution of the United States and the State of Virginia, and that Via was not deprived of due process of law. the commission further holds that it did not act under authority of any act of Congress but under the Virginia laws which have been held constitutional by the highest court of the State.