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Saturday, May 17, 2008

More Black Market Body Parts

From CNN.com:

The former head of UCLA's cadaver program and a businessman were indicted Friday on eight felony counts involving black market sales of human body parts.

Henry Reid, the former director of UCLA's willed body program, allegedly sold donated body parts to businessman Ernest Nelson, who then resold them to medical, pharmaceutical and hospital research companies.

"As a result, Ernest Nelson was able to supply over 20 of his clients with hundreds of body parts and received over $1 million for the supplied body parts," according to the indictment.

Ben Barros

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May 17, 2008 in Property Theory | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Sprankling on Owning the Center of the Earth

Nasa_54558main_world_med1 The UCLA Law Review has posted John G. Sprankling's Owning the Center of the Earth online.  Here's the abstract:

How far below the earth’s surface do property rights extend? The conventional wisdom is that a landowner holds title to everything between the surface and the center of the earth. This Article is the first legal scholarship to challenge the traditional view. It demonstrates that the “center of the earth” theory is poetic hyperbole, not binding law. Broadly speaking, the deeper the disputed region, the less likely courts are to recognize the surface owner’s title. The emergence of new technologies for use of the deep subsurface—such as heat mining and carbon sequestration, both of which may help mitigate global climate change—requires that we develop a new model of subsurface ownership. Accordingly, this Article proposes and evaluates four alternative approaches to subsurface property rights. The preferred model would recognize the surface owner’s title for only 1000 feet downward. If adopted, this approach would eliminate over 99 percent of the supposed real property ownership in the United States.

Very cool!

Ben Barros

Public domain image from NASA via Wikicommons

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May 15, 2008 in Property Theory, Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Semeraro on Sweet Land of Property

Steven Semeraro (Thomas Jefferson) has posted Sweet Land of Property?: The History, Symbols, Rhetoric, and Theory Behind the Ordering of the Rights to Liberty and Property in the Constitutional Lexicon on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

This article critiques the property rights movement‘s position that courts should scrutinize property regulation to the same extent that they now scrutinize fundamental liberty-based claims. At its root, the debate over the proper degree of scrutiny for property rights claims is a debate about the appropriate scope of a society‘s freedom to organize and reshape itself in search of a greater good. Strict scrutiny of regulation truncates the debate, demanding that we privilege what has been to guard against the hazards of the unknown. Greater judicial deference, by contrast, frees us to seek, through governmental actors pursuing the public interest, a better, more fulfilling society at the risk that we will fail.

Reviewing an array of arguments based on (1) intellectual and social history, (2) the rhetoric of modern jurisprudence, and (3) property law theory, this article shows that the movement‘s adherents have failed to make their case for strict scrutiny of property regulation. This article‘s critical assessment of the property rights movement cannot establish that judicial deference to legislative judgment in property rights cases is necessarily morally superior to more probing scrutiny. That the property rights movement has made virtually no progress more than two decades after it began, however, casts some measure of doubt on the possibility that it ever will.

Ben Barros

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May 14, 2008 in Recent Scholarship, Takings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Property and Progress: Antebellum Landscape Art and Property Law

Durand_progress (Doing some cross-posting from thefacultylounge.org this morning....)
My time in Tuscaloosa is rapidly drawing to a close.  Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending graduation and on Thursday I'm going to give a lecture on the relationship between landscape art and property law in the years leading into Civil War at one of my favorite--and one of our country's finest--art museums, the Westervelt Warner Museum.  (The Westervelt Warner owns one of Hiram Powers' statute's The Greek Slave, which is under discussion over at Althouse's shop. The statue served for antebellum Americans as a reminder that Greek Christians could be put into slavery and that we should treat others as we would want to be treated.  In essence, it tried to put Americans into a mindset that would cause them to oppose slavery.  That trope has a distinguished lineage in antislavery advocacy.)

The talk centers around my favorite work of American art, Asher B. Durand's Progress (1853), which just so happens to be owned by the museum.  This will be a huge treat for me, to have the chance to talk about that most magical of paintings at its home.  And, in fact, this talk is part of welcoming it home from travels to the Brooklyn Museum of Art and then out to San Diego for a major exhibit on Durand.  (Alice Walton's  Kindred Spirits , which is the centerpiece of her art museum Crystal Bridges was also a centerpiece of the show.)

I try to join two themes here--first, the centrality of property and particularly humans' footprints on the land, in antebellum landscape art; second, the ways that antebellum property law reflected and amplified those values.  I don't think either of those themes is controversial; however, I have not seen them put together.  The correlation between them is not perfect--a substantial part of landscape art reveals concern over increasing human intrusions on nature.  Just not Durand's Progress.  It’s a great canvass for seeing all sorts of images of what "progress" meant-–the shift from the native Americans over on the left (the state of nature), then moving across the canvass to the right, the telegraph wires, the steam boats, the canal, the peddler, the boy bringing the cattle to market, the church, the railroad roundhouse....

I've written about pieces of this talk in a bunch of places--years ago back at co-op, then here at propertyprof (focusing on Hawaiian landscape art) and ratio juris, and earlier this year at legalhistoryblog.  So major chunks of this have already been "workshopped" on blogs already.  I'll be posting a paper about this by the end of the summer.  In the meantime...

Continue reading

May 12, 2008 in Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Gardner on International Application of Regulatory Takings

Royal C. Gardner (Stetson) has posted Taking the Principle of Just Compensation Abroad: Private Property Rights, National Sovereignty, and the Cost of Environmental Protection on SSRN. Here's the abstract:

Part I of this article provides a brief background of the United States takings jurisprudence. It examines how the Fifth Amendment protects private property rights and when environmental regulation implicates the payment of just compensation. Part II reviews the methods by which the United States government seeks to protect the environment without infringing on private property rights, focusing on financial incentives and disincentives. Part III compares the many parallels between private property rights and national sovereignty. Part IV explores how lessons derived from the United States experience in balancing private property rights and environmental concerns are relevant to international environmental issues. It focuses on how the United States seeks to influence the environmental policy of other states through financial incentives and disincentives in multilateral and bilateral contexts. Concluding that such conditional assistance is consistent with the domestic principle of just compensation, the article offers a framework for when such assistance is justified.

Ben Barros

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May 12, 2008 in Recent Scholarship, Takings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)