Friday, August 3, 2007

Lamb and Nye on Presidential Leadership and Housing Segregation

Charles M. Lamb and Adam W. Nye (SUNY BUffalo) have posted Presidential Leadership and Housing Segregation on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

This paper first presents a simple typology for comparing presidential leadership in federal housing segregation policy. Then, in separate sections, it surveys the development of housing segregation policy during the Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy administrations. Finally, in a short summary section, it integrates these findings with prior research from the Johnson through the Clinton administrations, using the presidential leadership typology presented earlier. It concludes that Truman and Kennedy exercised moderate liberal leadership in housing segregation policy while Eisenhower's administration was characterized by conservative nonleadership. By contrast, Lyndon Johnson exercised strong liberal leadership compared to the liberal nonleadership of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. Like Eisenhower, Gerald Ford exhibited conservative nonleadership in this policy arena, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush exhibited moderate conservative leadership, and Richard Nixon's fair housing policy qualified him as a strong conservative leader.

Ben Barros

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August 3, 2007 in Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Prison as Home for Homeless Sex Offender?

We have had a number of posts about residency restrictions for homeless sex offenders (see here, here, and here). The NY Times today reported that a sex offender is facing an automatic life sentence for violating Georgia's new registry law for the second time. Here's an excerpt:

"The law requires offenders to register their address and forbids them to live or work within 1,000 feet of not only schools and day care centers but also churches, swimming pools and school bus stops. It expanded the definition of a sex offender and raised penalties for violating registry requirements.

Homelessness is not an acceptable excuse. “One of the requirements when you become a sex offender is you have to have an address,” said Sgt. Ray Hardin of the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office in Augusta.

Sergeant Hardin said enforcement of the law required a dedicated investigator, a global positioning system and, each time an offender moves, hours of paperwork. At least 15 sex offenders have been arrested because of homelessness since the law took effect in July 2006, according to documents gathered through pretrial proceedings in a lawsuit brought by the Southern Center for Human Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union.

The suit argues that the law leaves offenders virtually nowhere to live. Sarah Geraghty, a lawyer with the human rights center, said she had scoured the state for homeless shelters that would accept male sex offenders and could find only one, which was full. A document from the Sex Offender Administration of the Georgia Department of Corrections, provided to a reporter by Ms. Geraghty, lists what it calls “offenders arrested for being homeless.”

Georgia’s law is not the only one that has made it hard for offenders to maintain legal residences. In Florida, the state authorized five offenders to live under a bridge in Miami after they were unable to find suitable housing that they could afford. In Iowa, a victims’ group found that offenders tried to comply with the registry law by offering addresses like “rest area mile marker 149” or “RV in old Kmart parking lot.” Critics of residency restrictions say they drive offenders underground and have little effect on the number of sex crimes.

As a tough-on-crime measure, the Georgia law was enacted easily, with supporters saying it would force sex offenders to leave the state. “Every sex offender in Georgia will now serve time in jail, and every sex offender in Georgia will be monitored after their release,” said the House majority leader, Jerry Keen, the bill’s Republican sponsor.

But the law’s opponents have called it too harsh in its penalties, too broad in its restrictions and too rigid, allowing no exceptions even when a day care center or a church opens within 1,000 feet of an offender’s pre-existing residence. One offender, Anthony Mann, was told he had to leave his house and the barbecue restaurant he owned when day care centers opened too close to both locations, according to a second lawsuit."

Rose Cuison Villazor

August 3, 2007 in Land Use | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Fred Thompson (or his staffers) on Eminent Domain

Should you care, Republican kind-of-sort-of candidate Fred Thompson has posted his views on eminent domain.  (Hat tip Todd Z. at the VC).  He also has a post on his views about the Hazleton immigration decision that Rose noted last week.  It will be interesting to see whether eminent domain will play a significant role in the upcoming elections.  Immigration surely will.

Ben Barros

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August 2, 2007 in Takings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Junior Scholars Property Works-In-Progress Panel

Eric Claeys and I have organized a junior scholars property works-in-progress panel for the AALS meeting in New York.  Here are the details:

Call For Submissions

AALS Property Law Section Junior Scholars Works-In-Progress Panel

The AALS Property Law Section invites junior property scholars to submit works in progress for a junior scholars panel at the upcoming AALS Annual Meeting in New York  The panel will take place on Sunday, January 6, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.  At the panel, paper authors will have the opportunity to present their papers and receive commentary from senior scholars knowledgeable about their paper topics. 

Submissions:  Two papers and an alternate will be selected for the panel by blind peer review.  Papers should be submitted by e-mail to by September 15, 2007 with the subject line “Property Junior Scholars Panel.”  To facilitate blind review, authors should place their names and other identifying information on a separate cover page.  Authors also should alter or delete references within the text that would reveal their identities to a referee.  During the selection process, papers will be judged by how successfully they establish their contributions in a scholarly manner and by how substantially those contributions add to current property law and scholarship.

Eligibility:  The panel is open to scholars who (a) currently have a permanent or visiting appointment at an AALS member or fee-paid school; (b) have been teaching for six or fewer years; and (c) do not yet have tenure.  Papers that have been accepted for publication may be submitted for consideration, but only if they are early enough in the production process for the author to fully incorporate comments provided at the panel. 

Please direct any questions to the panel organizers, Ben Barros ( and Eric Claeys (

Ben Barros

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August 2, 2007 in Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

GELPI Takings Conference at South Carolina

The Georgetown Environmental Law & Policy Institute's annual takings conference will be held at the University of South Carolina Law School on September 20 and 21.  The conference includes some interesting panels on Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council.  I attended GELPI's takings conference a couple of years ago and thought it was very well done.

Ben Barros

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August 2, 2007 in Conferences, Takings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Korngold on Conservation Easements

Gerald Korngold (Case Western) has posted Solving the Contentious Issues of Private Conservation Easements: Promoting Flexibility for the Future and Engaging the Public Land Use Process on SSRN. Here's the abstract:

Over the past thirty years, statutes have reversed the common law and authorized private conservation organizations to hold conservation easements “in gross.” These interests allow nonprofits to control the use and development of the burdened property by preventing alterations of the natural and ecological features. Conservation easements can be held by organizations geographically distant from the restricted land.

Conservation easements bring great benefits as they support conservation, represent private initiative, yield efficiency benefits, and exemplify freedom of choice of property owners. There are costs, however: significant federal and state tax subsidies, the lack of coordinated planning and public process, class issues, stewardship failures by nonprofits, and lack of flexibility by easement holders to meet emerging needs of the community (such as for economic development or affordable housing). There is a risk to effective policy making and democratic principles when local, public land use decisions are delegated to non-representative, non-accountable private organizations.

The benefits of private conservation easements are significant, and they should be continued but with changes. The paper suggests five principles and related specific reforms that should be enacted: restoring market mechanisms in the creation of conservation easements; enhancing governance and operations of easement holders; protecting the expectations of future generation owners; achieving flexibility through expanded termination and modification doctrines; and preserving the public's power of eminent domain.

Ben Barros

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August 2, 2007 in Land Use, Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Osofsky on Geography of Justice Wormholes

Hari M. Osofsky (University of Oregon) has posted The Geography of Justice Wormholes: Dilemmas from Property and Criminal Law on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

This Article provides a law and geography analysis of the ways in which our legal structures constrain the possibilities for justice for categories of people. It explores “wormholes” in the U.S. legal system that transport people pursuing claims under multiple theories of law into another timespace in which basic protections are absent. In particular, the Article compares the barriers faced by post-9-11 “enemy combatants” and the indigenous peoples who were this country's original inhabitants. Through an analysis of two representative case examples—José Padilla's enemy combatant designation and the taking of Mary and Carrie Dann's land—the Article considers: (1) the way in which place, space, and time structure procedural and substantive injustice; (2) how different conceptions of United States spaces impact the possibilities for remapping these wormholes; and (3) the implications of this analysis for limiting and preventing wormholes.

Ben Barros

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August 1, 2007 in Recent Scholarship, Takings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Rasband and Garrett on Public Land Policy

James R. Rasband and Megan Garrett (BYU) have posted A New Era in Public Land Policy? The Shift Toward Reacquisition of Land and Natural Resources on SSRN. Here's the abstract:

Traditionally, the history of public land law has been divided into periods of acquisition, disposition, a shift to retention, and then a period of management. The paper reviews these historical demarcations of public land law and then asks whether we have entered a new period of public land policy that might be termed a period of reacquisition. The paper considers the 19.8 million acre increase in the public land base (outside Alaska) since the 1964 passage of the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the Wilderness Act. It details this federal acquisition under the Land and Water Conservation Fund, by way of land exchanges, and under a variety of other statutes. The paper also suggests that the 37 million acres of land protected under the land trust and conservation easement movement can also be understood as part of this shift to reacquisition because of substantial federal tax expenditures in the form of deductions for conservation easements. Finally, the paper considers whether federal regulation can be characterized as a form of public reacquisition, even if the underlying fee is retained in private ownership, because the regulation shifts control over land and natural resources away from private parties and to the public. The paper, for example, considers whether Section 404 of the Clean Water Act might be understood as akin to a reverse of the federal Swamp Lands Grant Acts of the Nineteenth Century.

Ben Barros

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August 1, 2007 in Natural Resources, Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Conference Announcement: Urban History Group

Urban History Group Annual Conference, 27-28 March 2008, University of Nottingham First Call for sessions and papers:

Urban Boundaries and Margins

This conference will explore the concept of boundaries and margins in the context of the city. The theme is interpreted broadly to encompass not only the identification of various types of boundaries - spatial, social, cultural, economic and political ­­­- but also the processes that help create, sustain as well as contest the legitimacy and practices of such boundaries. This focus draws attention to the differences as well as the similarities between various groups and activities in the city, and explores how these could change over time.

Themed sessions will include the following:

Age and life cycle issues in urban contexts

"Them and us"; class, race, ethnicity, culture

Trangressing norms of behaviour

Shifting concepts of day and night

Marginal groups and practices

Spatial and architectural margins in the home and the city

Administrative and political boundaries

Public and private space

The representation of boundaries

Boundaries of conflict and boundaries of order

The conference committee invites proposals for individual papers as well as for additional sessions. Abstract of up to 500 words should be submitted to the conference organiser and should indicate clearly how the content of the paper addresses the broad conference theme. Those wishing to propose additional sessions should provide a brief statement that identifies the ways in which the session will address the conference theme, a list of speakers and paper abstracts. The deadline for expressions of interest for sessions and papers is 30 September 2007.

In addition, the conference will also host a new researchers forum. This is aimed primarily at those who are at an early stage in a research project and who wish primarily to discuss ideas rather than present findings. New and current postgraduates working on topics unrelated to the main theme, as well as those just embarking on new research, are particularly encouraged to submit short papers for this forum.

Graduate students can obtain a bursary to offset some of the expenses associated with attending the conference. Please send an e mail application to Richard Rodger and ask your PhD supervisor to also send a message confirming your status as a registered PhD student. The Urban History Group would like to acknowledge the Economic History Society for its support for these bursaries.

For further details please contact:

Dr David Green (conference organiser) Email: - Department of Geography - King's College London - Strand - London - WC2R 2LS - UK - Tel: 44 (0) 20 7848 2721/2599 - Fax:44 (0) 20 7848 2287

Ben Barros

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August 1, 2007 in Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Strahilevitz on Posner as a Political Economist

Lior Strahilevitz (University of Chicago) has posted 'Don't Try this at Home': Posner as Political Economist on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

This short essay, written for a symposium commemorating Richard Posner's twenty-fifth year as a judge, examines Judge Posner's assessment of a comprehensive ordinance regulating the rental housing market in Chicago Board of Realtors v. City of Chicago. The essay suggests that Posner's reliance on the economic literature regarding landlord-tenant regulation was laudable and that the conclusions he drew from applying the economic literature were plausible. Posner's analysis of the political economy of such regulations, however, is unpersuasive, and seems to be driven by an unfortunate projection of Posnerian intuitions onto the mind of the median Chicago voter.

Ben Barros

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July 31, 2007 in Property Theory, Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 30, 2007

Brown on Blogs, Law School Rankings, and the Race to the Bottom

Jay Brown's Blogs, Law Schools Rankings, and the Race to the Bottom is up on ssrn.  This is both an insightful commentary on the role of blogs in legal scholarship and the mechanics of blogging.  I think the paper will generate some talk.  Professor Brown's abstract reads:

Blogs are changing legal scholarship. Although not a substitute for the detailed, often intricately researched analysis contained in law reviews and other scholarly publications, they fill an important gap in the scholarly continuum. Blog posts can generate ideas and discussion that can be transformed into more a systematic and thorough paper or scholarly article. At the same time, blogs provide a forum for testing ideas once they are published in more traditional venues.

While over time, a blog presence will likely become de rigueur for top scholars and law reviews, top tier schools as a group have not yet targeted blogs as a necessary component of scholarly activity. In the short term, therefore, blogs provide unique opportunities for faculty and law schools outside the top tier to enhance their reputational rankings. Blogs can enhance reputation by allowing faculty to route around some of the biases in law review placements and SSRN rankings that favor those at the top tier schools. Blogs also represent a cost effective mechanism for advertising scholarly activity.

The paper discusses the evidence that blogs enhance reputation and surveys the way that scholars at law schools outside the top tier are already harnessing blogs to enhance their reputations. The paper also discusses what it takes to create a successful blog, from the search for content to the benefits of advertising. The paper finishes with a brief history of The Race to the Bottom, a corporate governance blog.

Alfred L. Brophy
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July 30, 2007 in Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Land Use on the Border

Just got back from Law and Society in Berlin, which was great.  It was nice to meet a bunch of PropertyProf readers in person.

Here's a NPR story on a land-use issue with a unique international law twist:

In Washington State, a dispute over a homeowner's garden wall  has ballooned into a big federal lawsuit. It's stirred up a fight over private property rights versus international border security.  And as NPR's Martin Kaste reports, the case even touches on the limits of presidential power.

MARTIN KASTE: Herbert Liu is a quiet Chinese American from  Hawaii.  But he and his wife recently moved to Washington State to build their retirement home close to the Canadian border, very close to the border.

Mr. LIU: Right now we are standing on the 49th Parallel.

KASTE: This road here?

Mr. LIU: Yeah.

KASTE: So these cars are driving down the road in Canada.

Mr. LIU: Yeah.

KASTE: I mean, I could reach out and touch them.

Mr. LIU: Yes.

KASTE: There's nothing separating the U.S. and Canada here - no fence, no hedge, not even much of a shoulder on that Canadian road. In fact, the main way to spot the border is by the fact that it's supposed to be kept clear of obstructions. There are no trees or structures allowed within 10 feet of the boundary line. It's something Liu found out the hard way when he built a retaining wall that jutted three feet inside that buffer zone.

Mr. LIU: The Boundary Commission stopped us and said to tear the wall down.  They gave us 45 days to tear the wall down or they would come and tear it down themselves.

KASTE: Liu had never even heard of the International Boundary Commission.  It's the bi-national entity that's in charge of marking the border. So he sued to keep his wall with the help of the Pacific Legal Foundation, a conservative group funded in part by property developers. Lawyer Brian Hodges says the International Boundary Commission overstepped its authority when it threatened to tear down Liu's wall.

Mr. BRIAN HODGES (Lawyer): If an international organization can come in and unilaterally expand the scope of its power to include the regulation of private affairs, then you're not safe. And I don't want to sound like an alarmist, but that's the truth.

KASTE: Soon the Bush administration weighed in on Liu's side. It fired the American representative on the Boundary Commission, Dennis Schornack, after he insisted that the wall be moved back. But Schornack isn't going quietly. His lawyer, Elliot Feldman, says the president can't fire him.

Mr. ELLIOT FELDMAN (Lawyer): The commissioner is appointed by  the president, but he doesn't serve the president. He didn't take his oath to the president for this appointment. He took the oath to the treaty.

KASTE: Feldman accuses the administration of letting the  ideology of property rights trump the needs of border security.

Mr. FELDMAN: If this were permitted, there would be no  principled basis for stopping anybody else from doing the same thing. So you would have no visible border anymore and the RCMP on one side and the U.S. border patrol in the other wouldn't be able to police the border, wouldn't be able to patrol it.

Ben Barros

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July 30, 2007 in Land Use | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)