Old, new property law casebooks make for a contrast of doctrine versus indoctrination [Charles Rounds Jr., Martin Center] Former Yale dean Anthony Kronman’s latest book, The Assault on American Excellence, is a pointed critique of trends at elite universities [Caron/TaxProf; I reviewed one of Kronman’s earlier books back when] Shortcomings of present law school model leave dire need for alternatives [Mark Pulliam, Southeast Texas Record] “On the Ethics of Legal Scholarship” [Marquette Law Review symposium with Carissa Byrne Hessick, Paul Horwitz, and others]
If you’re looking for the enduring legacy of famed Yale law professor Charles Reich, I argue in a new Cato piece, it’s not so much to be found in his bestselling daydream of liberation The Greening of America as in his hugely influential work on government benefits as the “new property” of the administrative state. Excerpt:
Part of its ingenuity was in couching in seemingly sober and cautious terms an idea whose implications (especially welfare rights) were otherwise controversial, so as to appeal to moderates and also to the sorts of thinkers who would soon be termed libertarian. (The New York Times, in its obituary, says that “The New Property” article “defended an individual’s right to privacy and autonomy against government prerogative,” which sounds either Cato-ish or positively anodyne.) …
Reich’s remedies did not really operate to curtail big government, while they did advance the power and role within it of lawyers and those comfortable with legal process. In that way too, Reich outran his peers at capturing the spirit of his era.
Included: a discussion of the seeming, but in the end illusory, parallels between Reich’s early-1960s writing interests and those of economist Milton Friedman. More: anecdotes of Reich at Yale from Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito, via Josh Blackman. And a personal anecdote: classmates told me about this guy who’d roam the Old Campus engaging freshmen in long conversations, who was this famous author — but when he talked with my entryway-mates I happened not to be there, so I missed him.
“The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday agreed to settle a pivotal and contentious case on the property rights of homeless people — a decision that is likely to limit the seizure and destruction of encampments on skid row.” Since 2016 the city has been in litigation with civil rights lawyers representing homeless persons “and two Skid Row anti-poverty groups.” Subsequently, “U.S. District Judge S. James Otero in Los Angeles issued an injunction [that] barred the city from seizing and destroying homeless people’s property on skid row unless officials could show it had been abandoned, threatened public health or safety, or consisted of contraband or evidence of a crime.” [Gale Holland, L.A. Times; Susan Shelley, L.A. Daily News] An estimated 2,000 persons live in the downtown L.A. encampments, and diseases little seen in peacetime in the modern era, including flea-borne typhus, have been making a comeback. [Anna Gorman, Kaiser Health News/The Atlantic; KCOP; earlier]
L.A. should have put the Skid Row encampments under the authority of the California Coastal Commission. That would have ended all chance that anyone could successfully assert property rights in them.
- Michigan’s Oakland County seizes rental property owned by elderly man over $8.41 unpaid tax bill plus $277 in fees and interest, sells property for $24,500, keeps all the surplus cash for itself. Constitutional? [Joe Barnett, Detroit News]
- Pruning obsolete laws: “Teaneck Council repeals more than a dozen old laws, including ban on cursing” [Megan Burrow, North Jersey Record, quoting Councilman and longtime friend of this site Keith Kaplan]
- “What does the Constitution have to say about national emergencies, both real and imagined?” [Cato Daily Podcast with Gene Healy and Caleb Brown]
- Lawyer in drunk-driving case: my client’s chewing on her coat could’ve thrown off breath test [AP/WSBT (Berwick, Pa.)]
- Baltimore police corruption, tax policies that attract people, densifying MoCo and more in my latest Maryland policy roundup [Free State Notes]
- Busybodies in Bismarck: “North Dakota’s Excellent Food Freedom Act Is Under Attack Yet Again” [Baylen Linnekin]
Do something nice for your neighbors this Christmas and refrain from taking them to court. An attorney who resides in Hayden, Idaho, has gotten into “a miserable four-year war with his neighborhood” over holiday displays at his house [Daniel Walters, Inlander]
- Playlist: songs about eminent domain and takings, property law and the road [Robert H. Thomas, Inverse Condemnation]
- In-depth look into problems that develop when title to land is held as “heirs’ property,” leaving a dangerous collective tangle in place of individual right and duty [David Slade and Angie Jackson, Post and Courier (Charleston, S.C.)]
- Dispute over remains of two dinosaurs locked in combat 66 million years ago, lately unearthed in Garfield County, Mont. and extremely valuable, hinges on whether their fossils are “minerals”; Ninth Circuit says they are under Montana law [AP via Molly Brady (“property professor dream hypo”), Murray v. BEJ Minerals]
- “Government Should Compensate Property Owners for Flood Damage It Facilitated” [Ilya Shapiro and Patrick Moran on Cato amicus petition for certiorari in St. Bernard Parish v. United States] “Texas Court Rules Deliberate Flooding of Private Property by State Government in Wake of Hurricane Harvey can be a Taking” [Ilya Somin]
- Constituent-group politics continues to shape use of federal lands, to the detriment of its economic value [Gary Libecap, Regulation and related working paper]
- Caution, satire: Facebook parody of super-intrusive, restrictive, and meddlesome HOA [East Mountain West View Home Owners Association]
The state of Mississippi insists that a company called Vizaline, by selling a program that uses satellite imagery to translate “metes and bounds” language into polygonal lines on a map, is practicing land surveying without a license, and should be made to shut down and refund all money it has earned in the state. Attorneys from the Institute for Justice say that virtual land measurement is not only not part of an occupation subject to licensure, but is a form of expression and communication and subject to First Amendment protections. [Cyrus Farivar, ArsTechnica]
The great scholar Richard Pipes, known above all for his work on Russia and the Bolshevik Revolution, has died at 94. In 1999 I favorably reviewed his book on property as an institution, Property and Freedom: The Story of How through the Centuries Private Ownership Has Promoted Liberty and the Rule of Law. I’ve got a new post at Cato pulling together a few highlights of his work on property, along with miscellaneous links.
‘It’s my toy’ – property law
‘You promised me’ – contract law
‘He hit me first’ – criminal law
‘Daddy said I could’ – constitutional law
— the late Harold Berman of Harvard Law School, via John McGinnis, Law and Liberty.
Some others, via social media:
‘Mama said NO’- Supreme Court decision — Cathy Maddox on Twitter
‘Last week you said’ – case law — Dave Ferguson on Twitter
‘Stop repeating everything I say’ – copyright law — John Althouse Cohen
‘Make him turn it down’ — nuisance law
- YIMBY (Yes In My Back Yard) movement in San Francisco, other cities says build more housing to tame housing costs [Alex Tabarrok] Zoning laws sometimes respond to tiny-house movement, and sometimes don’t [Curbed]
- Federalist Society convention panel on Justice Scalia’s property rights jurisprudence with John Echeverria, James W. Ely, Jr., Roderick Hills, Jr., Adam Laxalt, Ilya Somin, Judge Allison Eid moderating;
- Your regulated residence: “Santa Monica Moves to Make All New Homes Net-Zero Energy” [Mental Floss]
- “King County, Washington, Caught Digging Through Residents’ Trash” [Christian Britschgi/Reason; see also on Seattle composting regulations]
- “EPA to big cities: Stop killing rats with dry ice” [Aamer Madhani, USA Today]
- “Policing for profit in private environmental enforcement” [Jonathan Wood; Clean Water Act citizen suits]