Sunday, June 13, 2010

Rose Cuison Villazor on Oyama

Rose Cuison Villazor  has a new article up on ssrn, "Oyama v. California: At the Intersection of Property, Race and Citizenship."  It is forthcoming in the Washington University Law Review.  Rose's abstract is as follows:  

Oyama v. California was a landmark case in the history of civil rights. Decided in January 1948, Oyama held unconstitutional a provision of California’s Alien Land Law, which allowed the state to take an escheat action on property given to U.S. citizens that had been purchased by their parents who were not eligible to become citizens. At the time, the country’s naturalization law prohibited Japanese nationals from becoming U.S. citizens. Thus, the Alien Land Law applied primarily to Japanese nationals and Japanese Americans. Critically, Oyama recognized that the state’s attempted taking of a citizen’s property because his father was Japanese constituted a violation of his equal protection rights. In so doing, Oyama created a paradigm shift in the treatment of property rights of Japanese Americans. Despite its significance, Oyama has received surprisingly little attention in legal scholarship. Leading constitutional and property law casebooks have virtually ignored the case. This Article seeks to correct that oversight. As this Article argues, Oyama fills a neglected void in our collective historical understanding of race, property law, and citizenship. Equally important, it provides a timely normative and prescriptive response to contentious contemporary debates about the validity of state and local law restrictions on leaseholds against a select group of noncitizens, namely undocumented immigrants. By calling attention to the historical and contemporary contributions of this largely unnoticed case, this Article argues why Oyama should be included in the canons of property and constitutional laws.

Posted by Alfred Brophy

June 13, 2010 in Articles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Acceptable Deviance and Property Rights: a shameless plug and request for feedback

A draft of my article Acceptable Deviance and Property Rights (forthcoming, Connecticut Law Review, which I link to here because it has an uncommonly gorgeous website for a law review) is finally up and running at SSRN.  Frankly, I already have some changes in mind for it.  I would really appreciate any feedback anyone would care to give.  You can e-mail me any suggestions at mark.edwards at, or post them in the comments section.  Here's the (admittedly rather abstract) abstract:

Compliance with – or deviance from – law is often dependent upon the law’s convergence with – or divergence from – normative sensibilities. Where the legality and social acceptability of behavior diverge, deviance is socially acceptable. Property rights evolve in response to changes in normative sensibilities. Constructing a model of acceptable deviance and applying it to property rights, we can predict and actually observe the evolution of property rights in response to changes in normative sensibilities in areas as diverse as file-sharing, foreclosures, the use of public space, and fishing rights. We can also predict and observe stresses in legal institutions created by divergences in the legality and social acceptability of behavior with regard to property rights. Law functions as an anchor on behavior, providing stability, but also space for deviance which permits the evolution of property rights.

Mark Edwards

[comments are held for approval, so there will be some delay in posting]

April 26, 2010 in Articles, Property Theory, Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, December 22, 2006

"Medium Rare Scrutiny"

I need a break from grading Con Law exams, so I thought I would share with my fellow Property Professors a gem of an article describing the Supreme Court's "tiers of scrutiny" for reviewing laws under the Constitution. Many of you may try to introduce the class to strict scrutiny, intermediate scrutiny, and the rational basis test when teaching some aspect of Constitutional Law to 1L property students. And if you are looking for an article that describes this area of the law--including the fact that the three standards of review are, in reality, many more than three--you need look no further than Prof. Michael Stokes Paulsen's six-page masterpiece, Medium Rare Scrutiny, 15 Const. Comm. 397 (1998).

My students love this article, because it is both informative and hilarious. Paulsen compares the Court's tiers of scrutiny to the way he barbecues steak in his backyard in Minneapolis on his Weber grill. Thus, he speaks of Rare Scrutiny, Medium Rare Scrutiny, Medium Scrutiny, Medium Well Scrutiny, and Well Done Scrutiny. Here is a short excerpt from the article, one describing "Romer-type rational basis with a bite" scrutiny, that should give you a feel for Paulsen's magic:

But Romer-type scrutiny is probably better labeled "rare to medium rare," or--if we're really being honest--"medium-well-to-well-done-but-call-it-rare-to-medium-rare-because-that's-hipper-and-I-don't-want-to-admit-what-I'm-really-doing" scrutiny. As everyone knows, rational basis with bite is really just another way of saying "singe the statute." As Gerald Gunther might (or might not) put it, such scrutiny is "rare" in theory and fatal in fact--dead, dead meat. It's amazing how many times "rare to medium rare" ends up being burned, when the Supreme Court is barbecuing the Constitution.

This is one of my all time favorite articles. If you get bored grading your exams, take a ten minute break and read Medium Rare Scrutiny. It will clear your palate for the next batch of blue books.

Rick Duncan

[Comments are held for approval, so there will be some delay in posting]

December 22, 2006 in Articles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)