Thursday, July 20, 2006

Cemeteries and Politics

Nationalcemamd On Tuesday I saw Christina Wells deliver an important paper on the constitutional law implications of 38 USC 2413, which restricts protests at Arlington Cemerty (or any other National Cemetery).  Pretty interesting stuff going on there.  Congress wanted to preserve the dignity of funerals.  (The background here is that some people protest at funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq and they say things along the lines of, the war is retribution for the United States' tolerance of gays.  Congress is trying to preserve the dignity of the funerals by prohibiting protests on cemetery property and near them, as well.)  Another chapter in the growing body of cemetery law....

I’ve written before that one of the things I love about Tuscaloosa is our local paper, the Tuscaloosa News.  It has charming stories of local interest, often about cemeteries and monument law.  Here is part of a letter to the editor to the Tuscaloosa News 4A (August 23, 2005), about the Tuscaloosa Mayor’s race, in which the author of the letter emphasizes . . . cemetery preservation:

The candidates for mayor are all honorable men. . . . I don’t know the candidates up close and personal; hence, I devised a personal litmus test.  I called each and left my name and number on their answering machines, after explaining I had a question about the unkempt and overgrown black Tuscaloosa cemeteries.  All other attributes being essentially equal, I will vote for and urge support for Walter Maddox, who told me that, if elected, he would clean the cemeteries and bill the owner(s) and continue doing it until the issue is settled.

Look for more talk about cemeteries and monuments.  As we grow increasingly conscious of our history, concern about cemetery preservation will grow as well.

Endnote: The image, "National Cemetery, path to statue "At Rest", Antietam, MD," is from the Library of Congress' website.  The original in the Loeb Library, Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

Alfred L. Brophy
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July 20, 2006 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

What Academic Law Journal has the Most Subscribers?

This little bit of trivia was inspired by reading Professor Michael Madison's charming essay, "The Idea of the Law Review: Scholarship, Prestige, and Open Access."  Professor Madison's essay has a number of virtues.  Prime among them: it's actually funny.  Try these lines out:

Once Lexis/Nexis and Westlaw started putting full texts of law reviews on their databases, the authority of print started to recede, leaving the authority of the publisher and, to a lesser extent, the authority of limited access.  A lot of law professors these days never actually handle original physical copies of law review articles, unless they're stuffing envelopes with reprints to send out to colleagues.  The patios of the profession long ago started to refer to placement of an article simply by the school name, that is, by the authority of the brand.  "I'm publishing in NYU," or "I'm publishing in Florida State," is a perfectly comprehensible statement among legal scholars.

Prestige is, obviously, important in the law review world.  Being "on law review" is prestigious for students; publishing in a top 10 or top 30 or top 50 journal is prestigious for authors.   Law reviews not only lend their prestige to the authors who publish with them.  They also contribute to the brand name of their schools.  Thus, I think it's important for DePaul that the DePaul Law Review is ranked in the top 50 and for the University of Houston that the Houston Law Review is ranked in the top 50, too.  If you want a good idea of the ranking of law journals, take a look at "The Emerging Importance of Law Review Rankings for Law School Rankings" (which ranks law reviews based on recent citations to them).  I advise against spending a lot of time with bepress' list of the top 100 law journals.

So that gets me to the piece of trivia: which academic law journal (thus excluding publications like the ABA Journal and the New York Law Journal) has the highest subscriber base?  Let's make it multiple choice:

A.  Business Lawyer
B.  Harvard Law Review
C.  Journal of Legal Education
D.  Law and History Review

Answer (and an UPDATE from yesterday) below the fold

Continue reading

July 18, 2006 in Law Schools | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

More on Kelo Endgame

Over at CoOp, Eduardo Penalver has some interesting thoughts on the in-kind compensation used by New London to reach settlement with the last few holdout homeowners.

Ben Barros

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July 18, 2006 in Takings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Justice Thomas' Dissents in Kelo and Jones v. Flowers

Kelohouse Over at blackprof, Emma Coleman Jordan has some important questions about Justice Thomas' dissent in Kelo.  Here's part sample of Professor Jordan's post:

[Justice Thomas] begins his analysis with an originalist interpretation of the “public purpose” clause of the Fifth Amendment, concluding that the majority has done violence to the original or “natural” meaning of the word “public use”.  His second line of argument is based on the instrumental consequence that urban redevelopment has disproportionately affected blacks, noting that “urban renewal came to be known as ‘Negro Removal’.  Thomas argues that:

In the 1950’s, cities “rushed to draw plans” for downtown development. “Of all the families displaced by urban renewal from 1949 through 1963, 63 percent of those whose race was known were nonwhite, and of these families, 56 percent of nonwhites and 38 percent of whites had incomes low enough to qualify for public housing, which, however, was seldom available to them.”. Public works projects in the 1950’s and 1960’s destroyed predominantly minority communities in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Baltimore, Maryland….. In 1981, urban planners in Detroit, Michigan, uprooted the largely “lower-income and elderly” Poletown neighborhood for the benefit of the General Motors Corporation.   Urban renewal projects have long been associated with the displacement of blacks; “[i]n cities across the country, urban renewal came to be known as ‘Negro removal.’  Over 97 percent of the individuals forcibly removed from their homes by the “slum-clearance” project upheld by this Court in Berman were black.. Regrettably, the predictable consequence of the Court’s decision will be to exacerbate these effects.

Porfessor Jordan then asks: "Is the Kelo dissent a principled deviation from Justice Thomas otherwise color blind jurisprudence, or is it an unprincipled effort to use race to support his conservative originalist interpretation of the Constitution?  What contribution does the Kelo dissent make in understanding Thomas’ views on race conscious remedies?"

I hope that you'll check out her complete post.  I, of course, am delighted whenever justices look to the impact their decisions as a way of gauging what they sought do (and have done).  For me, one of the many troubling aspects of Kelo (and Midkiff, too) is the displacement of people who are not in a position to mobilize political support.

Professor Jordan's post raises for me a question about the contrast between Thomas' dissent in Kelo and his dissent in Jones v. Flowers(See Ben's excellent discussion of Jones here.)  The later showed relatively little concern with people who might lose their property and receive no compensation.  In his Jones dissent, Justice Thomas focused on the likelihood of success of notice by certified mail; he did not (as he did in Kelo) look to the reality, which was that certified mail and notice by publication had failed to give Mr. Jones notice that his property was subject to sale for a tax lien.

Endnote: The photograph of Ms. Kelo's house is provided by the Institute of Justice.  They have asked that we include the following copyright notice: Photos by Isaac Reese, 2004 © Institute for Justice.

Alfred L. Brophy
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July 15, 2006 in Recent Cases | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, July 14, 2006

Kyra Sedgwick and Property Law in the Nineteenth Century

Thanks to David Langum, I learned that Kyra Sedgwick (now starring in "The Closer") is related to someone important to us propertyprofs: Theodore Sedgwick, author of A Treatise on Constitutional and Statutory Interpretation.  His book is one of the great overlooked treatises in the nineteenth century.  He was also one of the few Democrats who wrote important work on law in the antebellum period.  The other great treatise writers were, I think, all Whigs.  Very interesting what that says about political orientation and law in the period.  (You may recall that Democrat Andrew Jackson was notoriously contempetuous of law.  However, as I was reminded recently when I read AJ's 1837 state of the union address, he, too, spoke of the "majesty of the law.") 

Ms. Sedgwick's engagement notice in the New York Times confirms that I have remembered David's story correctly.  She is the great-granddaughter of the historian and author Henry Dwight Sedgwick--which means that Theodore is, I think, her great-great uncle. That means Kyra Sedgwick's also related to Catherine Sedgwick--author of the novel Redwood.  I'll reserve my thoughts on Redwood for another day.

We need to speak of the Sedgwicks alongside some of the other great multi-generational families in American history: the Mather family in colonial New England; the Pastorius family, from Francis Daniel Pastorius, author of the first legal treatise in British North America, to twentieth-century jazz musician Jaco Pastorius; and the Pynchons, from seventeenth-century judge William Pynchon to twentieth-century novelist Thomas Pynchon.

Alfred L. Brophy
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July 14, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 13, 2006

How Progressives Rewrote the Constitution

EpsteinprogressivesBeen going through some books that have come in recently for review in Law and History Review.  One that property profs may want to put on their summer reading list is Richard Epstein's How Progressives Rewrote the Constitution, which has just appeared from Cato.

Some interesting stuff in here, including Epstein's introduction where he concedes that a lot of the New Deal state isn't going away.  Of course, Epstein would still like to see some constitutional changes:

Years ago, in my 1985 book Takings, I took the position that the standard interferences with employment contracts, such as minimum wage laws, antidiscrimination laws (in competitive markets only), collective bargaining laws, and Social Security requirements, were unconstitutional, all on the ground that the state has no better knowledge of what individuals need than individuals themselves do.  I stand unapologetically by those positions today and think that the invalidation of those programs rests not on some narrowly egotistical view of private property but on the correct social ground that this view does us more good in the long run than the endless creation of various "unfair" practices, such as those under modern labor law, that introduce various forms of state monopolies, each of which further saps the productive juices from American society.  At the same time, I fully recognize that the mistakes of the past, such as the creation of Social Security, cannot be undone today in light of the extensive reliance interest that have been created.  . . .  But that acceptance of change should never by confused with the mistaken belief that long usage of accepted doctrine renders it necessarily immune from rational criticism and constitutional change . . . .

In a concluding chapter, "Progressivism Today," Professor Esptein criticizes Kelo.  It's going to get a lot of attention.

And while I'm talking about Professor Epstein, I should mention that I think you'll enjoy James Ely's article The Impact of Richard A. Epstein, on Epstein's influence on property jurisprudence.  (Ben discussed the paper here.)  It's a wonderful essay, which gets at the marrow of intellectual and legal history: how do ideas shape how people think and behave?  I love it.  And perhaps I'll have a little time later this summer to talk about it.  It certainly deserves a read by property profs and legal historians.

Here's a link to a video of Professor Epstein's speech about the book to the Cato Institute.

Alfred L. Brophy
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July 13, 2006 in Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Pennsylvania Abolishes Rule Against Perpetuities

Last week, Pennsylvania enacted legislation that among other things abolishes the rule against perpetuities for interests created after December 31, 2006 (the link is to the Senate bill; the Governor approved the bill on July 7).  The legislation amends several code sections, but the following captures the essence of the bill:

20 PSA  § 6107.1.  Applicability of rule against perpetuities.
    (a)  Traditional rule.--Sections 6104 (relating to rule against perpetuities), 6105 (relating to rule against perpetuities; disposition when invalidity occurs), 6106 (relating to income accumulations; when valid) and 6107 (relating to income accumulations; disposition when invalidity occurs):
         (1)  shall apply to every interest created before January 1, 2007; but shall not apply to any interest created after December 31, 2006.
   (b)  Modern rule.--All of the following apply to every interest created after December 31, 2006:
        (1)  No interest shall be void as a perpetuity.
        (2)  No direction or authorization to accumulated income shall be void as a perpetuity.

As a result, Pennsylvania will retain its wait-and-see approach to the RAP for interests created before January 1, 2007, but will have no RAP for interests created January 1, 2007 or after.  The practical impact will be that specialists in trust litigation and related matters will need to know the RAP, but that the average practitioner drafting wills and trust documents in Pennsylvania will not need to worry about it.

Ben Barros

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July 13, 2006 in Future Interests and the RAP | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Turnipseed on Elective Share Statutes

Terry L. Turnipseed (Syracuse University College of Law) has posted Why Shouldn't I be Allowed to Leave my Property to Whomever I Choose at my Death? (Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Start Loving the French) on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

This article analyzes whether the ancient common law concepts of dower and curtesy, and their modern day statutory equivalents – the elective share laws – should be substantially modified or eliminated. In modern America, forty-nine of the fifty states and the District of Columbia severely limit freedom of testation vis-à-vis surviving spouses. If, as a policymaker, one believes the marital partnership theory of marriage to be gospel, then by goodness change to community property and be done with it. Do not, as many states have done, choose separate property (an inherently non-partnership, eat-what-you-kill, philosophy) and then try to graft some back-end sorry excuse for community property at death. But if you truly believe, as I think many well-intentioned people do, that this is America, and we have a long tradition of property and testator freedom, then keep your separate property system and completely eliminate your elective share law. Those are really the only two options that have internally consistent logic.

If you eliminate the elective share laws, the sky will not fall. They have been doing it for decades in Georgia and all the empirical evidence shows that things are working just fine thank you. The fact that the privileged can pay their way out of any elective share law – by some estate planning technique or by moving money offshore – and the less financially fortunate cannot, is a real injustice that must be rectified. Let us eliminate the elective share laws for all, not just the well-to-do.

The elective share laws are terribly demeaning and paternalistic to women. Male dominated legislatures, though, continue to perpetuate belittling female stereotypes by saying through elective share laws that women are so incompetent and unable to stand up for themselves that the “little missies” still must be protected by some ancient magical sword. With literally every single disinheritance study showing de minimis rates of disinheritances that are not agreed to by the spouse, elective share laws seem like some ridiculous school child's Rube Goldberg machine trying to solve in as complex a manner as humanly possible a problem that really does not exist. Every few years, mostly male law professors huddle to build a better mousetrap to keep their evil male counterparts from doing something they have little or no desire or motivation to do, and in the process precious freedom – for both men and women – loses out.

Ben Barros

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July 13, 2006 in Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Laughlin on Cultural Preservation

Stanley K. Laughlin (Ohio State Law School) has posted Cultural Preservation in Pacific Islands: Still a Good Idea - and Constitutional on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

This article deals with certain legal and policy issues in the non-state insular areas of the United States (American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands), and less directly with islands in “free association” with the United States (Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Palau.)

Many, perhaps most, insular areas of the world, due in large part to geographic separation, maintained their traditional cultures well into the 20th Century. With the onslaught of modern communications and transportation, preserving those cultures or even parts of them, now requires conscious effort. The author agrees that cultural preservation is a worthwhile objective, but notes that not everyone does; for example, those who believe that cultural preservation laws (e.g., laws restricting alienation of land) interfere with the “invisible hand” of the market and retard economic progress. The article notes that in U.S. areas there is another potential barrier to cultural preservation, the United States Constitution. Law restricting ownership of land to indigenous people, for example, have been challenged as alleged violations of the equal protection principle. The author argues that well-designed cultural preservation laws, including laws prohibiting or regulating sale of land to outsiders, should pass muster on both legal and policy grounds.

The author examines the unique cultures of some of these islands and notes that they have many qualities worth emulating. He also challenges the argument that cultural preservation retards economic progress. On the law side, he examines the historical development of doctrines pertaining the application of the U.S. constitution in non-state areas.

The article then focuses on the important Ninth Circuit case of Wabol v. Villacrucis. That case, quoting from an earlier article by this author, fashioned a rule that allows for the application of important constitutional protections in territories, but also permits exceptions when strict application might jeopardize the indigenous culture. The author argues that Wabol was correctly decided, and should remain the controlling precedent in this area of law (despite some current criticism of the case).

Ben Barros

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July 12, 2006 in Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Landlords and exchanges

Couple of quick notes for the morning here: the Village Voice has its most recent installment in the long-running series, "The Ten Worst Landlords of New York."  Check it out.  There's the makin's of some great property exams in there.

Also, our friends over at 1031 exchange blog are doing some interesting things.  Check them out.

Alfred L. Brophy

July 11, 2006 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Gold Rush and Property Rights

Californiamaploc_1 I've been reading Karen Clay's Squatters, Production, and Violence, which is available on ssrn. Clay's abstract reads:

This paper uses a model and historical data from California in 1860, a time at which property rights were uncertain, to investigate the links among property rights, production, and violence. Consistent with the model, squatters had production that was 15-47 percent lower than non squatters; a 10 percent increase in the density of squatters was associated with an 8-17 percent decrease in agricultural output per acre, and, at levels above the mean, increased density of squatters was associated with higher levels of violence. The market for squatting does not appear to have been in equilibrium. This may reflect the imperfect information available to squatters, sorting based on a taste for violence, or our use of aggregate data. We then compare our results on agricultural production for California to results for other states west of the Mississippi in 1860 and in 1880. The negative effects of squatting were widespread in 1860, but by 1880 the effects had abated in many places as the number of squatters fell. The results on production and violence have implications for understanding the historical development of agriculture in the United States more broadly, since squatting on agricultural land was prevalent throughout the United States, and for understanding agriculture in the Third World, since uncertain property rights in agricultural land are still an issue today.

Pretty interesting study.  And it reminds us of the importance of stability in property rights (and lots of other rights, too).  And maybe makes one believe that the state has a larger role than we sometimes credit it, in creating order and fostering economic development.

Endnote: The map of California is from our friends at the Library of Congress.

Alfred L. Brophy
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July 11, 2006 in Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

Monday, July 10, 2006

More Takings Legislation Blogging

On subjects relating to recent posts here, Eduardo Penalver has a follow-up post at CoOp on takings legislation like Oregon's Measure 37, and Ilya Somin has a post a the VC on legislation putatively aimed at preventing Kelo-style economic development takings.

Ben Barros

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July 10, 2006 in Takings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Property Theory in a Nutshell

From the introduction to Richard Pipes' book Property and Freedom:

Discussions of property from the time of Plato and Aristotle to the present have revolved around four principal themes:  its relation to politics, ethics, economics, and psychology.

1.  The political argument in favor of property holds that (unless distributed in a grossly unfair manner) it promotes stability and constrains the power of government.  Against property it is claimed that the inequality which necessarily accompanies it generates social unrest.

2.  From the moral point of view, it is said that property is legitimate because everyone is entitled to the fruits of his labor.  To which critics respond that many owners exert no effort to acquire what they own and that the same logic requires everyone to have an equal opportunity to acquire property.

3.  The economic line of reasoning for property holds that it is the most efficient means of producing wealth, whereas opponents hold that economic activity driven by the pursuit of private gain leads to wasteful competition.

4.  The psychological defense of property maintains that it enhances the individual's sense of identity and self-esteem.  Others assert that it corrupts the personality by infecting it with greed.

These four approaches fairly exhaust the range of arguments for and against property articulated during the last three thousand years.

Well, I guess I'll just assign this for my Property Theory seminar in the fall and take the semester off.

Ben Barros

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July 10, 2006 in Property Theory | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Georgetown Conference on Economic and Social Inequality

Gulc Thanks to a post from Emma Coleman Jordan over at blackprof, here's a link to a webcast of an important conference on Economic and Social Inequality at Georgetown University Law Center in March.  Propertyprof readers may be particularly interested in the panel on Property Ownership and Asset Equality, which has excellent presentations by Thomas M. Shapiro of Brandeis University, Robin Paul Malloy of Syracuse University Law School, Daria Roithmayr, of the University of Illinois Law School, and  Bernadette Atuahene, Chicago-Kent College of Law.  I think you'll enjoy it.

Alfred L. Brophy

July 10, 2006 in Conferences | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Klass On the Common Law and Federalism

Alexandra B. Klass (University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - School of Law) has posted Common Law and Federalism in the Age of the Regulatory State on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

Over the past several decades, the growth of federal statutes and the rise of the regulatory state have weakened and displaced state common law even in the absence of express or implied preemption. However, there is a strong theoretical and judicial foundation on which to argue that the existence of statutes, regulations, and the data they generate should be used to inform and develop state common law rather than overshadow or displace it. Moreover, in this current age of the “new federalism,” such progressive common law development at the state level may be particularly timely and appropriate. This article uses these principles to provide a new perspective on the evolution of environmental law from its common law beginnings, to the flurry of federal statutes and regulations beginning in the 1970s, to present-day state and local environmental protection initiatives, and to argue for increased emphasis on state common law in modern environmental protection efforts.

Ben Barros

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July 10, 2006 in Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, July 9, 2006

Penny Lane, the Slave Trade, the Beatles, and Monuments

Penny_lane This morning's paper brings this news: that Penny Lane of Beatles' fame was named after James Penny, an eighteenth century Liverpool merchant who engaged in the slave trade.  There's a move afoot in Liverpool to rename the streets named after slave traders.  Of course, Penny Lane isn't going to be renamed.  Not even the proponent of the renaming supports that.

Much as Penny Lane is in our eyes and in our eyes, the slave trade is closely related to our history.  Seemingly everywhere we look, we see connections to the era of slavery.  There's a lot of talk about renaming things--parks, college buildings (Vanderbilt University's Confederate Memorial Hall is the most prominent example here), and now streets.  Seems to me as though there are at many competing issues here, including:

whether by removing names, we forget the lessons of the past;
whether by removing names we inappropriately dishonor people who deserve recognition;
whether by removing names we inappropriately break with tradition;
whether by keeping names we honor people who do not deserve that honor or provide support to a cause we don't mean to support.

I had some thoughts on the United Daughters of the Confederacy lawsuit against Vanderbilt last fall while visiting over at co-op.  Until now, the connection between Penny Lane and the slave trade has been (largely) forgotten; now we're talking about it again.

Endnote: The photograph of Penny Lane comes from Twang's musings.

UPDATE: This morning's Seattle Post-Intelligencer also has an article on the movement for reparations, which has been slowly gathering momentum at the local level.  The movement, the article points out, has shifted largely to the local level and to talk about Jim Crow, rather than slavery.  I discuss this in Reparations Pro and Con, which will be out shortly.

Alfred L. Brophy
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July 9, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, July 8, 2006

Post-Kelo Eminent Domain Reform

Bert Gall of the Institute for Justice has an interesting post on post-Kelo eminent domain reform, and Ilya Somin has some good comments on the issue at the VC.

Ben Barros

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July 8, 2006 in Takings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Break-up: Implications for Teaching Rights of Co-Tenants

Breakup In the spirit of Michael's post on property in Superman (very nice post, btw).... I just went to see the new Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn movie, The Break-up.  It's about . . . an unmarried couple's break-up.  Always trying to turn time spent on non-productive stuff, like watching movies, into something useful--so I started thinking about its implications for property class.  Aniston and Vaughn are co-owners of a condominium in Chicago.  A significant part of the movie revolves around Aniston and Vaughn annoying each other as they're still living together.  They divide the condo into rooms that are common and separate and then do a bunch of things to constructively evict the other.  (Aniston has her brother's acapella singing group practice in her bedroom; Vaughn brings in a pool table--and then does a lot more outrageous things later.) 

Property profs may want to draw on it when talking about rights among co-tenants.  So next time you teach Schwartzbaugh v. Sampson (a case I find difficult to teach well), roll out a few examples from The Break-up (you can get the short-version at the movie's website.)

I'll avoid commentary on Jennifer Aniston's clothes (you can find some of that from our friends over at concurring opinions).  I do, however, have some thoughts on the movie.  In talking with the people whom I went with, I commented that I didn't enjoy the ending--it ends with Aniston and Vaughn going different ways, it appears.  So one of my friends said, "Al, you write about slavery and race riots.  How can it bother you that a movie doesn't have a cliched, happy ending?"

Endnote: Nice product placement, don't you think?  A little pushy, but I got the idea from the movie, which sprinkled a bunch of Budweiser advertisements on us.

Alfred L. Brophy
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July 8, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Weekly Top Ten

Here's this week's list of SSRN's ten most downloaded recent property articles:

1. (84) The Uselessness of Public Use, Abraham Bell (Bar Ilan University and Fordham Law School) and Gideon Parchomovsky (University of Pennsylvania - School of Law)

2. (70) The City as an Ecological Space: Social Capital and Urban Land Use, Sheila Foster (Fordham University School of Law)

3. (63) From Direct 'Public Use' to Indirect 'Public Benefit': Kelo v. New London's Bridge from Rational to Heightened Scrutiny for Eminent Domain Takings, Trent Christensen (Brigham Young University)

4. (59) Weighing and Reweighing Eminent Domain's Political Philosophies Post-Kelo, Alberto Lopez (Salmon P. Chase College of Law)

5. (57) Save the Cities, Stop the Suburbs?, Nicole Stelle Garnett (Notre Dame Law School)

6. (51) The Puzzle of the Optimal Social Composition of Neighborhoods, Robert C. Ellickson (Yale Law School)

7. (50) Mine & Thine Distinct: What Kelo Says about our Path, Timothy Sandefur (Pacific Legal Foundation - Economic Liberties Project)

8. (49) Once a Mortgage, Always a Mortgage - The Use (and Misuse) of Mezzanine Loans and Preferred Equity Investments, Andrew Berman (New York Law School)

9. (43) Nothing 'Errant' About It: The Berman and Midkiff Conference Notes and how the Supreme Court got to Kelo with its Eyes Wide Open, Benjamin Barros (Widener University - School of Law)

10. (41) Shielding Duty: How Attending to Assumption of Risk, Attractive Nuisance, and Other 'Quaint' Doctrines Can Improve Decisionmaking in Negligence Cases, John C.P. Goldberg (Vanderbilt University - School of Law) and Benjamin C. Zipursky (Fordham University School of Law)

Ben Barros

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July 8, 2006 in Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, July 7, 2006

Washington State Takings Ballot Initiative

Over at CoOp, Eduardo Penalver has a great post on a proposed Washington State ballot initiative similar to Oregon's Measure 37.  Eduardo and I disagree on a number of takings issues -- for example, I think that Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council was 100% correct, while he is more skeptical.  We completely agree, however, that this type of initiative or legislation is really bad news.  I'm very sympathetic to the property rights side on a lot of takings issues, but as I've observed before, property rights advocates have never made a convincing transition from criticism (often valid in my view) of regulations that result in a severe diminution in property value without compensation to making a convincing argument for a rule that requires compensation for any diminution in value.

If this measure passes, however, I wouldn't blame property rights advocates or out-of-state political operatives.  I'd blame regulators on all levels who too often act as if screwing property owners will not have political consequences.  (C.f., the Kelo backlash).  Eduardo observes that these initiatives are "often portrayed as the result of broad grassroots outrage at over-regulation," going on to note the role of property-rights organizations in getting the initiatives on the ballot.  While I'm well aware of the flaws in ballot initiative voting, property rights organizations don't vote.  It seems to me very likely that Measure 37 passed overwhelmingly over concerted opposition because Oregon voters were pissed.  At a certain point, arguments that voters just didn't understand what they were voting for just don't hold up anymore.

UPDATE:  Eduardo has further thoughts here; Geoff Manne and Will Baude have defenses of this type of initiative here and here.

Ben Barros

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July 7, 2006 in Land Use, Takings | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)