Sunday, October 2, 2011

The PropertyProf Mentoring Program

The most valuable professional advice that I ever received (as a practicing lawyer or as a professor) was to develop a strong network of peers and mentors.  In the law school setting, it is important to have mentors within your own institution, but often those senior colleagues do not share your research interests or even teaching subjects.  Instead, junior profs are helped enormously if we can cultivate relationships with more experienced teachers and scholars in our subject area at other institutions.  Those external relationships can also lead to varied other opportunities down the road.

Ben Barros gave me the opportunity to begin blogging at PropertyProf Blog when I was on the academic market, which was generous and helpful.  I'm only in my second year of full-time teaching, but blogging here has allowed me to meet property scholars at institutions across the country.  The downside of using blogging to develop one's network is that it is terribly one-sided and passive.  You, dear reader, have learned much about me, Steve, Mark, and Ben, but we know little about you.  And, perhaps more importantly from a systemic standpoint, you haven't interacted much with each other.

So (without consulting my PropertyProf colleagues) I propose that we begin an informal PropertyProf Mentoring Program.  This program would have two main goals:

1.    To stimulate the creation of mentoring relationships between junior and senior property profs at different institutions; and

2.    To create groups of property profs willing to read and comment upon each others' scholarship.

If you are interested in (1) being mentored; (2) being a mentor; or (3) reading another property prof's scholarship in exchange for their promise to read yours, please either indicate your interest in the comments, or send me an e-mail at marshtd at  I will do my best to match people with common interests, so please indicate your main scholarly interests and the courses you teach in the e-mail or comment.

Tanya Marsh

October 2, 2011 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Diehard Effect

A great story in today's New York Times about the evolution of immigrant neighborhoods and the hold-outs from a prior era.  Although the article focuses on neighborhoods in Brooklyn, the same story could be told in cities across the U.S.

Tanya Marsh

September 16, 2011 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Gold as a Security Deposit?

The Wall Street Journal reports today that the Trump Organization has accepted a security deposit in the form of 99.9% pure gold bullion, rather than cash or a letter of credit.  Landlords probably don't need to buy safes just yet -- this appears to be a publicity stunt by the tenant (precious-metals dealer Apmex) and the landlord (who told the Journal that he saw the move as a "repudiation of the Obama administration's economic policies").  Now, if the lease called for all the rent to be paid in gold, that would really be interesting...

Trump told the Journal that depositing gold was the tenant's idea.  I'm not surprised.  From the landlord's perspective, it makes for a fairly problematic security deposit.  Most commercial leases provide that if the tenant fails to pay rent or is otherwise in default, the landlord can dip into the security deposit to cure the default.  That's a little tougher when your security deposit consists of three gold bars.  Bigger problem is that the price of gold fluctuates, which impacts the value of the security deposit.  If gold goes up in value, the tenant has an increasing incentive to meet its leasehold obligations, because it will get the bars back at the end of the lease.  If the security deposit had been in cash, the landlord could have invested the money in an interest-bearing account (which is, admittedly, pretty much worthless right now), but it can't capture any appreciation in the value of the gold.  But if gold plummets, then the landlord is left with a security deposit worth less than he originally bargained for.  In short, the landlord can't capture the upside on changing gold prices, and is stuck with the downside. 

But hey, at least Apmex and Trump bought themselves a little publicity!

Tanya Marsh

September 15, 2011 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Breaking News in Cemeteries

I've read three, count them, three articles about cemeteries in recent days.  And who said that this isn't cutting edge stuff?

1.  The national cemetery in Houston, apparently one of the nation's busiest, is the subject of a lawsuit filed against the Department of Veterans Affairs by local veterans groups.  The problem is the enforcement of a 2007 policy "that prohibits volunteer honor guards from reading recitations — including religious ones — in their funeral rituals, unless families specifically request them."  The local veterans groups want to continue to use a VFW script that dates to WWI and "refers to the deceased as 'a brave man' with an 'abiding faith in God' and that seeks comfort from an 'almighty and merciful God.'”

According to the NYT article:

Department of Veterans Affairs officials say that the original policy, enacted under President George W. Bush, resulted from complaints about religious words or icons being inserted unrequested into veterans’ funerals. They noted that active-duty military honor guards, including the teams that do funerals at Arlington National Cemetery, say almost nothing during their ceremonies.

“We do what the families wish,” said Steve L. Muro, the under secretary for memorial affairs. “I always tell my employees we have just one chance to get it right.”

The Liberty Institute is supporting the litigation, and has a website dedicated to the controversy.  You can check it out here.

2.  Scientists have been studying teeth and bone fragments excavated from the East Smithfield cemetery in London.  The cemetery, across the street from the Tower of London, is the final resting place of thousands of victims of the plague which struck England in 1348.  Scientists have been trying to resequence the DNA of the Black Death to determine if it is the same agent that causes bubonic plague today.  The microbe Yersinia pestis was found in the East Smithfield cemetery, but not in the St. Nicholas Shambles cemetery, which was closed before the Black Death struck, providing evidence that the microbe was not in England prior to the plague, but brought from somewhere else. 

3.   Members of the Army's Old Guard have been photographing each of the 219,000 tombstones and 43,000 columbarium markers in Arlington National Cemetery.  Congress mandated that the cemetery account for all of its graves, so the photographs are being taken and compared to other data, such as maps and burial cards.  The best part of the story is that military officials hope to use the data to create an online database for the public. 

Tanya Marsh

August 31, 2011 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Map of the U.S. by Ancestry

I ran across this fascinating map of the United States, which uses 2000 census data to depict the dominant group, by ancestry, in each American county.  There are a lot of interesting trends which the map reveals.  Who knew that the Germans dominated so much of the United States?  What's up with all the English in Utah?  Can you believe so many counties have dominant French/Finnish/Norweigian/Dutch populations?

Here is a small version of the map.  Click the link above for a much larger version, which allows a county-by-county comparison.


One of the most interesting things to me is the number and location of the counties which self-identified their ancestry as "Americans" (indicated by the cream or light yellow).  Not "Native Americans," mind you, but "Americans."  To a question asking about "ancestry," this is a strange answer coming from people whose origins were obviously in Europe.  To answer "American" suggests either that their knowledge of their ethnic origins is lost, or their current identification as "American" is so strong that it makes it impossible for them to answer the question accurately. 

These counties are largely located in Appalachia and the South.  With the exception of New England (and, obviously, the Native Americans), the residents of the counties which identify as "Americans" have generally been in North America longer than people in most other parts of the country.  But in New England, the counties are clearly identified as English, Irish, Italian, or French.  Why the difference?  My theory is that New England includes large blocks of people who have been here several centuries and more recent (100+ years) Irish and Italian arrivals.  Because they have been in the same place for a long time, or because their ancestors arrived more recently, they have a stronger ethnic identity.  But the people of Appalachia did not emigrate directly from Europe to, say, Kentucky.  They started in eastern Virginia, or New Jersey, or wherever, and then worked their way west.  They may have been in the lower Midwest or South since the early 1800s, but the longer migration disassociated them from their European origins.  They are likely largely ethnically English (or, in places, Scots-Irish), but no longer see themselves as anything other than American. 

I think that this map is also interesting because it demonstrates that while we are all Americans, there are signficiant ethnic differences between the states and regions of the country that inform our attitudes towards government, etc.  It would be interesting to match up this map with the counties which voted Republican or Democrat in the last presidential election.

Tanya Marsh

August 29, 2011 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Eric Fischer creates very cool maps

The Washington Post had an article yesterday about my high school friend Eric Fischer (I went to high school with some very cool people).  Eric creates graphical maps using a wide variety of data -- census data, tweets, photos posted on Flickr.  You can visit his Flickr account to see some of the maps he has created, which have a lot to say about the patterns of human behavior, and thus relate directly to land use and other things we property profs care a lot about. 

Eric also uses a lot of data created by social media.  Here's one cool one -- Eric mapped the East Coast tweets that occurred right before and after the earthquake earlier this week.  Grey dots represent non-earthquake related tweets, and green dots represent earthquake-related tweets.  Each frame represents one second.


Come on -- that's just super cool!

Tanya Marsh

August 28, 2011 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

John Denver Peak?

I grew up listening to John Denver songs, so I was intrigued to see that there is a petition to name a peak 280px-Mount_Sopris
in the Rocky Mountains "John Denver Peak."  Specifically, the petition is to name the east peak of Mount Sopris, above Aspen, Colorado, rumored to be the site where he wrote "Rocky Mountain High."

  This petition has sparked a controversy between those who think that this is a perfect way to honor the artist, versus those who think that Denver's legacy as an environmentalist is overhyped, and that he did the area more harm than good by promoting it in his songs.

NPR did a piece on the controversy the other day, and if you are interested, you can sign the petition here.

If you need some inspiration, you can see John Denver perform Rocky Mountain High here, or, my personal favorite, Grandma's Feather Bed (with the Muppets) here

Tanya Marsh


August 21, 2011 in Miscellaneous, Natural Resources | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 15, 2011

"Home" and the Uniqueness Doctrine

Okay, I'm back.  I will post about what I've been doing this summer that has kept me off PropertyProf Blog (not that its that terribly interesting) but the theme is that I was ridiculously overly ambitious.  MASSIVE props to Steve Clowney for being a one-man blog this summer and covering up my incredible slackage. 

In the meantime, following up on Steve's Burning House post (very cool site, by the way), I have been thinking a lot lately about the meaning of "home" and our emotional connection to real property.

Real property has enhanced importance in American common law because of the uniqueness doctrine, that is, the idea that all real property is unique and cannot be replaced.  I've critized the uniqueness doctrine in the commercial real estate context, but it goes fairly unchallenged in the residential context.  We have a romantic ideal of the family home (i.e. "every man's home is his castle"), and the law goes to some lengths to protect that value. Think about the differences between residential and commercial foreclosure processes, for example.

But does that romantic ideal match reality?  In my fairly geographically stable life, I have lived in 5 houses in Indianapolis, 3 apartments in Indianapolis, 3 dorm rooms in Bloomington, Indiana, 2 apartments in Bloomington, Indiana, 1 apartment in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and 1 house in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  So that's 15 different "homes" in 37 years.  Clearly I have far less emotional attachment to the dorm room I inhabited my freshman year of college than I do to the home that I lived in throughout elementary school, but which of these, if any, is my home?

My dad grew up in Richardson County, Nebraska, which currently has a population of about 10,000.  He grew up in the same house that his dad grew up in.  His grandmother lived next door.  His grandparents and great-grandparents grew up down the road.  The Marsh family and collateral families lived in Richardson County, within a few square miles of each other, from 1859 to 1995.  That's a home.  That land had a real emotional resonance to the family.  All our people are buried there.  When the common law talks abut the uniqueness of land, it had my family's Nebraska farms in mind.

But that is also a romantic ideal that was inconsistent with many peoples' reality.  Before they settled in Nebraska, my Marshs traveled from New Jersey to Mason County, Kentucky, to Adams and Highland Counties, Ohio, to Lafayette County, Wisconsin, and to Missouri.  They had a dozen farms in a dozen communities in three generations.  Americans come from a long line of highly mobile people.  We are (almost) all immigrants, after all.

My current hypothesis on all of this is that my "home" is where my immediate family (and the stuff that I'd carry out of a burning house) is located.  If that home is important to me, it is because of the stuff and people contained there, not because of the real property itself.  Oh sure, I might like the house and the neighborhood, but it is essentially a widget. Therefore, I am becoming highly suspicious of the uniqueness doctrine's applicability even to residential real estate.

I've thought about this topic a lot this summer because I've spent so much of it driving back and forth between Winston-Salem and Indianapolis.  Every time I cross the border from Ohio or Kentucky into Indiana, I see the words "Back Home Again in Indiana."  And that rings very true.  But when I cross the border from Virginia to North Carolina, I think to myself "oh good, I'm almost home."  So I think that the modern reality is that we can have more than one home, or that "home" is a broader concept than just a residence.  "Home" is really about a community. 

More on this and what it has to do with state residency statutes in a future post.

Tanya Marsh

August 15, 2011 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Glorious Ruins of the Erie Canal

12erie1-articleInline I haven't subscribed to a paper newspaper in years, but when the New York Times moved to a pay-to-read model, I started getting the Sunday Times in newsprint in order to have access to the paper the rest of the week on my iPad.  Although a reluctant subscriber, I do enjoy the old-fashioned feeling of reading the Sunday Times.  But I digress.

In this weekend's New York Times Magazine, there is a wonderful little article written by Dana Spiotta, who travelled 40 miles on the Erie Canal, to capture what she calls its "glorious ruins."  You can read it, and see an accompanying slideshow of some of the photos they took, here.

I mention this piece on PropertyProf because the writer talks a bit about the changes in transportation and the way we orient our businesses and communities to those arteries of transportation.  One passage that struck me:

I woke up to a Canadian goose honking inches from my head, only the tent fabric between us. I had woken many times during the night when a train came through or a loud truck rattled by. As I lay there, I finally understood that we were not on a natural waterway in some remote, untouched setting. We were on a canalized river, sandwiched between a rail line and a thruway. The Erie Canal wasn’t built for leisure. It was meant to be the most efficient way to get to the next place. Our desire for progress, to make it to Schoharie Crossing, was appropriate. The canal’s formal uniformity pushed you forward. Its aesthetic charms were incidental, a side effect of engineering and water. It was full of natural beauty, but it was also an intervention, a piece of transformative technology. Part of what makes the canal compelling today is its ineluctable connection to its original purpose.

That description of the canal struck me as very American in its practicality of purpose.  But as she mentions, and as the photos in the slideshow demonstrate, part of what makes the ruins of the Erie Canal glorious is that as the man-made structures begin suffer degradation from age and neglect, nature begins to reclaim them. 

The photos look particularly beautiful in the glossy print of the magazine.

Tanya Marsh

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June 13, 2011 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Welcome Newbies

It looks like all the "i's" have been dotted and all the "t's" have been crossed on this year's Hiring Report put together by Prawfsblawg.  Special congratulations are in order for all the new PropertyProfs who have landed jobs. Welcome future Jedi Masters of the Property world:

Daniel Morales (Depaul)

Justin Pidot (Denver)

Ann Tweedy (Hamline)

Uma Outka (Kansas)

Bela August Walker (Roger Williams)

Eva Subotnik (St. John's)

Deepa Varadarajan (St. John's)

Marc-Tizoc Gonzalez (St. Thomas)

Shelley Cavalieri (Toledo)

Samuel Bray (UCLA)

Betsy Baker (Vermont)

Jill Fraley (Washington & Lee)

Please let me know if I've missed anyone.

Steve Clowney

June 6, 2011 in Miscellaneous, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The 25 Best Cities for College Grads

Here's a slideshow from the Daily Beast:

To put together the list of the top towns for recent graduates, we looked at the cities through the lens of the basics of quality of life: housing, employment, affordability, and relationships. The cities that land among the top 25 have relatively low unemployment, high average salary per capita, a low cost of living, a high portion of housing units devoted to rental properties, and a large population between ages 22 and 24.

Steve Clowney

June 2, 2011 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

An Opportunity for Junior Property Profs

The clock is running out on a unique and valuable opportunity for junior property professors  -- participation in the American Bar Association Real Property Trust, and Estate Law Fellows Program.  The application deadline is June 17, 2011.  (Sorry for the late notice.)

I was an ABA-RPTE Fellow about five years ago, and it was one of the most valuable professional experiences I've had.  It is literally the fast-track to leadership in the section, which can be valuable to junior Property Profs for a number of reasons.

1.  If you never practiced in real estate prior to joining the academy (or practiced briefly), the twice-annual ABA-RPTE leadership meetings (paid for by the ABA during the Fellowship!) are an incredible opportunity to meet senior practitioners and gain ideas, tips, and forms. (Note:  after the two-year fellowship is completed, you should, if you met expectations, etc., be appointed to a leadership post in the section.  I am a vice-chair of a substantive committee.)

2.  If you did practice real estate prior to joining the academy, the ABA-RPTE leadership meetings are a great way to stay on top of changing conditions in real estate practice, and to incorporate those new lessons learned into the classroom.

3.  ABA-RPTE section leadership includes several noted property profs.  So if you go to the leadership meetings, you get to hang out with and get to know experienced and generous property profs.  (Who will read and comment on your articles if you ask nicely!)

4.  You get great, random opportunities.  At the fall leadership meeting last fall, I happened to attend the breakfast meeting of the Uniform Laws Committee.  I walked out of the meeting with an assignment to do some research on a particular topic, which is the focus of an article that I'm writing this summer and a report that I'm presenting to the Joint Editorial Board at NCCUSL later this year. 

5.  You get opportunities to present your research.  At the recent Spring Symposium in Washington, D.C. (which doubles as the spring leadership meeting), I co-presented a CLE on "Rethinking Real Estate Remedies in Troubling Times."  This was an adaptation of an article that I published in the Nebraska Law Review last summer on the uniqueness doctrine, tweaked for an audience of transactional real estate attorneys.  I presented with a current litigator and we had 65 people in the audience, literally standing room only for 90 minutes.  Not only was that presentation good PR for my scholarship, but it was a well-received CLE that actually said something useful and practical.  In a few months, we are going to offer the same program as an eCLE, which will be advertised broadly throughout the ABA. 

So, education, networking, opportunities to share your scholarship.  What else do you need?

The application materials can be found here.  Please feel free to e-mail me directly if you have any questions about the program!

Tanya Marsh

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May 31, 2011 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Disinterring Leather Man

New-History_Leatherman_Page126 A fascinating story from Ossining, New York caught by eye this morning in the New York Times.  Local history buffs from New York and Connecticut (and fans of Pearl Jam) may already be aware that back in the 1860s-1880s, a man known only as “Leather Man”  walked a 365 mile circuit through at least 41 small towns on a 34-day cycle.  Apparently he was so compulsively prompt on this tour that you could set your calendar by him.  Leather Man was a source of fascination during his lifetime.  Apparently “thousands” of articles about him appeared in local newspapers 
at the time, documenting his travels.  He never spoke, lived in lean-to’s or caves, and wore a 60-pound suit of clothing made from discarded boots (thus, his name).

Leather Man died in 1889 in one of his regular shelters near Ossining, New York.  He was buried in the pauper section of Sparta Cemetery at government expense, without a tombstone.  In 1953, a bronze plaque was added to the fieldstone marking his grave.  It identifies him as “Jules Bourglay,” a native of Lyon, France.  But researchers say that there is no more reason to believe this origin story than dozens of others.  Leather Man is a mystery.  His grave, situated along busy Route 9, is a stop on dozens of local tours.  The elderly and school children, along with curious individuals, visit his grave often. 

[More after the jump]

Continue reading

May 25, 2011 in Miscellaneous, Property in the Human Body | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 6, 2011

How a Map Divided Virginia

I love old maps.  Seeing the landscape as others did in the past helps us understand their actions better.  Such is the case with the unusual propoganda maps highlighted by the New York Times in its Disunion series yesterday.

On the verge of the Civil War, Virginia wrestled with whether to secede.  The first two proposals to do so were defeated.  As the Times explains:

"This was partly a matter of geography: slavery was relatively rare in the western counties, and as the crisis intensified residents there began to see secession as primarily driven by the interests of slaveholders. As easterners became more strident about their rights, those in the west began to see themselves as a separate group with fundamentally different interests."

Virginia voted to secede on May 23rd, and three days later, federal troops crossed the Ohio River into the western counties, to support them in their efforts to secede from Virginia and stay in the Union.  In a complementary effort, the United States Coast Survey released a map of Virginia that was the first to use U.S. Census data cartographically.  It highlighted the concentration of slaves in Virginia counties by shading -- the darker the county, the more slaves, the lighter the county, the fewer.  A second version even drew a line around the western counties and dubbed them "Kanawha."

There is much more information in the article about the Union's use of maps to highlight divisions within the Confederacy.  A very interesting article about the power of maps!

Tanya Marsh

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May 6, 2011 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Property Issues and the Royal Wedding

Coat A childhood full of playing Dungeons & Dragons and trading Magic: The Gathering cards has left me far too interested in the Royal Wedding (it is, sadly, the closest I'll ever get to wearing chain mail or wielding a broad axe).  Luckily, there's at least a little overlap between my scholarly interests and the pageantry of Will and Kate's nuptuials.  As far as I can tell, the wedding raises at least three property issues:

1.  The shortage of hotels has inspired many Londoners to rent out their homes and become temporary landlords.  One expert estimates that London homeowners stand to take in an estimated $170 million in rents during this week.  Prices range from $50 a night for a single room in a private home to more than $6,000 a week to rent an entire house in central London.

2.  Royal watchers are gossiping about whether Kate and Will have signed a prenuptial agreement.  Family Law Solicitor Louise Liu speculates that even though William is worth $45 million, it's unlikely he's been encouraged to get a prenup with Kate. According to Liu, while prenups are routine in the U.S., they are persuasive but not legally binding in England.

3. What titles will the Queen bestow on William and Kate?  All titles are gifts from the monarch, so it is the Queen's perogative to choose which one to grant to her grandson and his new wife.  As the Telegraph explains, "Tradition dictates that royal men receive a title on their wedding - and often more than one."  Leading contenders include the Duke of Cambridge, the Duke of Sussex, and the Duke of Clarence.  A couple of Duchies produce serious income.  Prince Charles' Duchy of Cornwall estate, which stretches over 135,000 acres in the south-west of England, has an estimated value of $1 billion (647 million pounds) and produces $25 million a year in profits.  One final note on titles; according to tradition Kate would not become HRH Princess Catherine of Wales because she is not a Princess in her own right. Instead, she becomes HRH Princess William of Wales.

If you're looking for me tomorrow, I'll be the guy having tea and crumpets, glued to the TV.

Steve Clowney

April 28, 2011 in Gifts, Landlord-Tenant, Marital Property, Miscellaneous, Recording and Title Issues | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Famous Objects From Classic Movies

Picture 3 Ji Lee's addictive game, Famous Objects from Classic Movies, is one part hangman, one part movie trivia, and one part commentary on how property gives meaning to our experiences.

The game is simple.  It displays a silhouetted image of an object and asks the player to determine what movie it comes from. Three wrong answers and you fail (and there are currently over 60 movies in the game's catalogue). 

I find it wonderfully surprising how the dark silhouette of a piece of property can serve as a shortcut for a whole range of sensory experiences and memories.  Strangely, I even managed deciphered a bunch of answers to movies that I've never seen.  We do see the world through property-shaped lenses.  

Steve Clowney 



April 6, 2011 in Miscellaneous, Personal Property, Property Theory | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Collective Bargaining As a Property Rights Issue

There's an interesting thread over at the Faculty Lounge about the Wisconsin battle over collective bargainging rights for public employees.  Professor Calvin Massey opines that collective bargaining by public employee unions should be illegal.  Personally, I think that position is illogical and even dangerous, but perhaps that is because I tend to view most things through the lens of property rights.

I hope it is beyond debate that one has a property right in one's labor (confederate flag raisings notwithstanding).

That being true, it seems to me that advocates of private property rights should be adamant that one has the decision right to alienate, or not alienate, one's property on terms of one's own choosing.  If, for example, I want to sell my house in concert with my neighbors because together we can obtain a higher price, that's my business.  And that's true even if the buyer is the government.  Free market advocates would be outraged if the government told me otherwise, no?

So if we substitute "labor" for "house," why on earth should the result be different?

That's why I believe that opposition to collective bargaining is fundamentally inconsistent with respect for private property rights.  Protecting private property rights means protecting the right of each person to attempt to strike a bargain for the alienation of her labor.  Of course, potential buyers of labor should be free to refuse to purchase until they find a price they are willing to pay; but limiting collective bargaining limits not merely the price a buyer is willing to pay, but also the ability of the seller to bargain for her labor -- her private property. Therefore, limiting collective bargaining means limiting rights in private property.

Yet many of the same people who claim to value private property rights favor eliminating collective bargaining by public employees.  That position is inconsistent at best. 

If I am wrong, please correct me.

Mark A. Edwards

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February 20, 2011 in Miscellaneous, Property in the Human Body, Property Theory | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Resources for Property Profs -- DIRT Listserv

If you are not currently subscribed to the DIRT listserv, I recommend that you check it out.  The listserv is moderated by Professor Pat Randolph of University of Missouri at Kansas City Law School.  It is one of the few places where law school professors and practitioners debate ideas, and share new cases and developments in the law.  It is a great resource to find "real world" examples to highlight property doctrine as well as to keep a finger on the pulse of the profession.

The listserv is moderated, and sometimes Professor Randolph adds commentary or answers a question.  The listserv generates approximately 20 messages a week.  As one would expect, the participants are very interested in new cases involving mortgages and foreclosures, so traffic picks up when a new decision is handed down.

You can check out the website here which gives instructions for signing up.  I highly recommend it.

What other resources should Property Profs be aware of?  Please add ideas in the comments.

Tanya Marsh

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February 3, 2011 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Stagnation of the Common Law of Property

I'm uploading older articles to SSRN, so I thought I'd mention a short piece that I co-authored this summer for the Indiana Law Review.  You can find it here.  While the second half of the article discusses changes in the Indiana law of property over the past year, the first half is a short essay in which I lament the stagnation of the common law of property.  Although this article specifically concerns Indiana, I think that this is broadly true.  I'm sure that my thesis will be strongly challenged, but I think it reflects the frustrations of transactional real estate attorneys -- too much uncertainty leads to settlements which do nothing to advance the law.  I've been involved in circumstances that would have made great test cases, but my clients were just too darn risk averse.

Here's my conclusion:

This essay argues that common law of real property law in Indiana, and more broadly, is stagnating. This stagnation of the common law of property results from a combination of factors. Transactional attorneys view the litigation process as unworkable, particularly in the real estate context, for three key reasons: (1) the cost; (2) the length of time until resolution; and (3) the uncertain outcome. If neither the common law nor statutory law provide easy answers to an issue, the parties are likely to conclude that they are better off resolving their differences out of court rather than spending time and money to achieve an unpredictable result. This situation is a classic Catch-22 -- the parties to real estate disputes refuse to bring their cases to the appellate courts in part because of the failure of the courts to modernize the Indiana common law of property, but the appellate courts of Indiana have limited opportunities to modernize the law because of the failure of parties to modern disputes to allow their cases to be heard.

Tanya Marsh

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November 22, 2010 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Corner in Brooklyn, Then and Now

Here is a fascinating little gem for those interested in preservation and architecture -- two photos of the same corner in Brooklyn, one from 1937 and one today.  The buildings are the same, but their facades are completely different. 

The piece includes a link to the New York Public Library Digital Gallery.  That may be a dangerous find for me -- I could waste a LOT of time going through old photos of New York.

Tanya Marsh

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November 9, 2010 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)