August 31, 2012
Brian Leiter has noted that the following property scholars have accepted appointments with tenure that will begin in 2013:
Alberto Lopez (trusts & estates, property, legal history) from the University of Richmond to the University of Alabama.
Eduardo Penalver (property, land use, law & religion) from Cornell University to the University of Chicago (beginning January 2013).
Gerald Torres (property, Indian law, critical race theory, environmental law) from the University of Texas at Austin to the University of California, Irvine.
Moore on Zoning Appeals
Kathy Moore (Kentucky) has posted The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Board of Adjustment: Fifty Years Later (Kentucky Law Journal) on SSRN. Here's the abstract:
years ago, Jesse Dukeminier, Jr. and Clyde Stapleton published a case
study of the practice of law before the Lexington-Fayette Urban County
(LFUC) Board of Adjustment. This Article presents a new empirical study
of the LFUC Board of Adjustment. Specifically, the study covers the
eighteen month period from the Board’s July 2007 meeting through its
December 2008 meeting. This Article discusses how the practice has
changed and improved in the years since the Dukeminier-Stapleton study
and the problems and difficulties that still remain.
The Article begins by describing the current procedure before the LFUC Board of Adjustment and how it has changed since the Dukeminier-Stapleton study. It then addresses the three basic types of appeals the Board considers: (1) variances, (2) conditional use permits, and (3) administrative appeals from the zoning administrator. With respect to each type of appeal, the Article first describes the governing law and how it has changed since the Dukeminier-Stapleton study. It then provides an empirical study of the Board’s voting behavior. The Article concludes with an overview of the ways in which the law and practice have changed since the Dukeminier-Stapleton study and the problems that remain.
August 30, 2012
The Fanciest Address in New York
The NY Times runs an article on the buildings with the most services (and highest annual maintenance fees) in the city:
For those willing to put down millions to own an apartment in Manhattan, a high tolerance for some of the highest monthly charges in the world is almost a prerequisite. Imagine the privilege of paying the equivalent, on an annual basis, of the cost of a new home in many parts of the country — all to ensure that you can get a cup of coffee, or a shirt ironed, at all hours of the day.
“It is a way of life that people really appreciate whose lives are quite busy and full,” said Kathy Sloane, a broker at Brown Harris Stevens who has sold apartments in the Carlyle. “They want everything to be organized for them, and they don’t ever want to question the standard.”
Map of the Day: The Most Republican States
From Slate. The redder the state, the larger percentage of self-identified republicans:
Essert on Property as a Legal Office
Christopher Essert (Queen's - Canada) has posted The Office of Ownership (Toronto Law Journal) on SSRN. Here's the abstract:
I defend an account of ownership as a legal office, according to which the rights and duties of a given owner are not the rights and duties of some individual person, but rather the rights and duties of the office of owner. This view of ownership has several advantages. First, it allows us to manage an apparent conflict between the fact that ownership rights and duties seem to be bilaterally structured and the fact that ownership rights and duties are merely contingently the rights and duties of a given person. Second, the account explains the common law’s distinction between a real covenant and a contract: the covenant is an agreement entered into by the owner as officeholder and thus binds future officeholders by running with the land, the contract is a merely personal agreement which cannot bind future owners. Third, the account can help to explain some of the borderline cases about what could count as the subject of property rights.
August 29, 2012
Should a College Student Buy a House Rather Than Live in the Dorms?
Recent news stories suggest that it may save a family money in the long run:
Investing in student housing may not only help to reduce the room-and-board portion of the tuition bill, but also provide a revenue source, and in some cases a tax deduction.
Kelly on the Uniform Probate Code
Dan Kelly (Notre Dame) has posted Toward Economic Analysis of the Uniform Probate Code (Michigan Journal of Law Reform) on SSRN. Here's the abstract:
Insights from economics and the economic analysis of law may be useful in analyzing succession law, including intestacy and wills as well as nonprobate transfers such as trusts. After surveying prior works that have examined succession from a functional perspective, I explore the possibility of utilizing tools like (i) transaction costs, (ii) the ex ante/ex post distinction, and (iii) rules versus standards, to illuminate the design of the Uniform Probate Code. Specifically, I investigate how these tools, which legal scholars have employed widely in other contexts, may be relevant in understanding events like the nonprobate revolution and issues like “dead hand” control; analyzing UPC provisions pertaining to the harmless error rule, reformation, and ademption by extinction; and evaluating law reforms such as proposals to abolish attestation or prevent the disinheritance of children.
August 28, 2012
Today's Architecture Moment: Frank Lloyd Wright & the GOP Convention
The L.A. Times examines the stage design at the Republican Convention, which is influenced by the work of Frank Lloyd Wright. The stage "will be crowded with large video screens framed in wood. [...] The inspiration for the set, said Jim Fenhagen, lead production designer for the convention, is Wright's residential architecture, which often featured long horizontal bands of wood-framed windows."
According to the paper, the concept is not without risks, "For this particular ticket, the most obvious risk is the Ayn Rand connection. Wright was the chief inspiration for the headstrong architect Howard Roark, hero of Rand's 1943 novel 'The Fountainhead.'" And then, there's this: "As for Wright, let's put it this way: He was no standard-bearer for conservative values. He grew his hair long and liked to wear a cape. His political views were far from consistent, but he leaned left and was accused of distrusting capitalism and even, on occasion, of having Communist ties."
Who Owns Land Created by a Volcanic Eruption?
Over at Land Use Prof, John Infranca has a great post about who owns land created by Volcanic Eruption in Hawaii. The rub:
The court [in Kobayashi v. Zimring, 566 P.2d 725] distinguished the common law regarding accretion, the gradual increase of land through the deposit of soil. Under the common law, owners of contiguous land take title to land formed by accretion. In contrast, the court declared, “in cases where there have been rapid, easily perceived and sometimes violent shifts of land (avulsion) incident to floods, storms or channel breakthroughs, preexisting legal boundaries are retained notwithstanding the fact that former riparian owners may have lost their access to the water.” Similarly, it noted that under California law if an accretion is caused by artificial means, the newly created land does not belong to the upland property owner. The court concluded that “[r]ather than allowing only a few of the many lava victims the windfall of lava extensions, this court believes that equity and sound public policy demand that such land inure to the benefit of all the people of Hawaii, in whose behalf the government acts as trustee.”
Perez on Property Rights and Transitional Justice
Nahshon Perez (Boston University - Religion) has posted Property Rights and Transitional Justice: A Forward-Looking Argument on SSRN. Here's the abstract:
This article aims to describe a forward looking approach to the problem of property rights in transitional justice contexts. Undemocratic regimes violate property rights in various ways, from simple thievery to violations of opportunities to appropriate. Post transition situations entail an obligation to correct such injustices therefore. However, returning to the status quo ante is complex, costly, and requires information that is often not available. An alternative is the suggested FCR: forward looking, commensurable and redistributive. Such an approach emphasizes the creation of a baseline of ownership and welfare, rather than an attempt to return to the status quo ante.
August 27, 2012
Could Property Dispute Lead to WWIII
The New York Times looks at a brewing conflict between Japan and China over a handful of islands in the East China Sea:
[E]xperts say the increasingly shrill war of words over disputed islands between Japan and its East Asian neighbors, including China and South Korea, is potentially ... explosive. Unlike in the South China Sea, where the frictions center on competition for natural resources, the East Asian island disputes are more about history, rooted in lingering — and easily ignited — anger over Japan’s brutal dominance decades ago.
Those raw emotions were loosed over the weekend, as hundreds and possibly thousands of Chinese — in protests that were at least tolerated by the government — poured into the streets in several cities to denounce Japan’s claims over the Senkakus.
Our (Enormous) House, In the Middle of Our Street
Matt Yglesias looks at the insane size of houses in America:
One thing you're seeing here is the home mortgage interest tax deduction at work. This is often described as a program to encourage homeownership, but the homeowner/renter margin is a pretty small element of the impact. A much bigger impact is that it encourages every homeowner in America, at the margin, to buy a slightly larger house than would otherwise be the case and therefore encourages homebuilders to build slightly larger houses. There's nothing wrong with big houses, but it's far from clear why you would specifically want the tax code to encourage big houses rather than fancy cars or expensive rugs or whatever else people might buy in a neutral environment.
Laycock and Goodrich on RLUIPA
Douglas Laycock (Virginia) and Luke Goodrich (Becket Fund for Religious Liberty) have posted RLUIPA: Necessary, Modest, and Under-Enforced (Fordham Urban Law Journal) on SSRN. Here's the abstract:
a physical place of worship is a core First Amendment activity, but
churches are often unpopular in the zoning context, and zoning law
entails vast discretion. To address the First Amendment and zoning
issues that result, Congress enacted the Religious Land Use and
Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA). This article addresses
the most common criticisms of RLUIPA: that there is no problem for
RLUIPA to solve, and that RLUIPA gives churches carte blanche to burden
Twelve years of experience under RLUIPA show that neither criticism has merit. Churches continue to face hostility in the zoning context; RLUIPA is necessary. And while RLULIPA has protected many churches in the face of zoning resistance, churches lose when they overreach; judicial enforcement has been modest.
RLUIPA is actually somewhat underenforced, particularly with respect to its two most important provisions, “substantial burden” and “equal terms.” With respect to equal terms, we offer a clear textual resolution to the interpretive issues that have divided the courts. It is not the proposed land uses that must be equal, but the “terms” of regulation. Cities can exclude whatever assemblies they want without violating the equal terms provision, so long as they exclude religious and secular assemblies in the same terms.