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Property Law and Real Estate

Eminent domain

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Full-Text Articles in Law

How Far Does Natural Law Protect Private Property, James W. Ely Jr. Apr 2023

How Far Does Natural Law Protect Private Property, James W. Ely Jr.

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

This Article first explores the ambiguous relationship between natural law and the rights of property owners in American history. It points out that invocation of natural law principles was frequently conflated with English common law guarantees of property rights in the Revolutionary Era. Reliance on natural law as a source of protection for private property faded during the nineteenth century and was largely rejected in the early twentieth century. The Article then considers the extent to which natural law principles are useful in addressing contemporary issues relating to eminent domain and police power regulation of private property. Taking a skeptical …


Eminent Domain And Unfettered Discretion: Lessons From A History Of U.S. Territorial Takings, Jill M. Fraley Jan 2022

Eminent Domain And Unfettered Discretion: Lessons From A History Of U.S. Territorial Takings, Jill M. Fraley

Scholarly Articles

Eminent domain is a minimal constitutional protection for private property and one that is subject to far more discretion than previously recognized by scholars. This Article traces a novel legal history of land takings within the U.S. Territories, focusing on some of the most egregious and controversial incidents and problematic patterns originating within eminent domain law. Comparing this history to recent research that demonstrates how takings in the States have disproportionately impacted Black communities, this Article articulates three patterns of injustices in takings echoing between Black mainland communities and indigenous communities in the Territories: large-scale federally funded actions, local government …


The Compensation Constraint And The Scope Of The Takings Clause, Thomas W. Merrill Jan 2021

The Compensation Constraint And The Scope Of The Takings Clause, Thomas W. Merrill

Faculty Scholarship

The idea I wish to explore in this Essay is whether the established methods for determining just compensation can shed light on the meaning of other issues that arise in litigation under the Takings Clause. Specifically, is it possible to “reverse engineer” the Takings Clause by reasoning from settled understandings about how to determine just compensation in order to reach certain conclusions about when the Clause applies, what interests in private property are covered by the Clause, and what does it mean to take such property?

The proposed exercise is positive or descriptive in nature rather than normative. The hypothesis …


Property Transitions, Michael A. Heller Jan 2021

Property Transitions, Michael A. Heller

Faculty Scholarship

Time plays a key role in this book. The last two chapters discussed two reasons why time matters to the life of property: over time, owners effect voluntary changes to property in order to carry out their life plans and the state imposes involuntary changes (from the individual owner’s perspective) in response to changing circumstances, shifting needs and wants, and revised public goals. For the state to function – and to remain justified on liberal principles – the government must have this ability to adjust ownership. However, state-initiated transitions to ownership – implemented through governments’ police and takings powers – …


The Case For The Rodeo: An Analysis Of The Houston Livestock Show And Rodeo's Inverse Condemnation Case Against The City Of Houston, Emilio R. Longoria Jan 2020

The Case For The Rodeo: An Analysis Of The Houston Livestock Show And Rodeo's Inverse Condemnation Case Against The City Of Houston, Emilio R. Longoria

Faculty Articles

This Article will explore questions at the frontier of eminent domain law using the Houston Rodeo's 2020 closure as its case study. In doing so, it will attempt to clear the muddied waters of the Court's jurisprudence on compensable takings. Because of the Rodeo's location, and because of the Supreme Court's recent decision in Knick v. Townshjp of Scott, this analysis will be done using both federal and Texas law. However, since many state jurisdictions either parallel federal takings law or have made their respective takings statutes more stringent - finding compensable takings more easily than Texas or the federal …


A Wall Of Hate: Eminent Domain And Interest-Convergence, Philip Lee Jan 2019

A Wall Of Hate: Eminent Domain And Interest-Convergence, Philip Lee

Faculty Publications

(Excerpt)

Donald Trump is no stranger to eminent domain. In the 1990s, Trump wanted land around Trump Plaza to build a limousine parking lot. Many of the private owners agreed to sell, but one elderly widow and two brothers who owned a small business refused. Trump then got a government agency—the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA)—to take the properties through eminent domain, offering them a quarter of what they had previously paid or been offered for their land.

The property owners fought back and finally won. Although the CRDA named several justifications, from economic development to traffic alleviation and additional …


Energy And Eminent Domain, James W. Coleman, Alexandra B. Klass Jan 2019

Energy And Eminent Domain, James W. Coleman, Alexandra B. Klass

Faculty Journal Articles and Book Chapters

This Article examines the growing opposition to the use of eminent domain for energy transport projects such as oil pipelines, gas pipelines, and electric transmission lines. Such projects were protected from the state legislative reforms that restricted eminent domain following the Supreme Court’s controversial decision in Kelo v. City of New London in 2005 but are now under increased scrutiny. This Article evaluates why U.S. energy transport projects have become so controversial and suggests how states and the federal government should evaluate the need for eminent domain for these projects and enact appropriate reforms. We first detail the significant changes …


Property-As-Society, Timothy M. Mulvaney Oct 2018

Property-As-Society, Timothy M. Mulvaney

Faculty Scholarship

Modern regulatory takings disputes present a key battleground for competing conceptions of property. This Article offers the following account of the three leading theories: a libertarian view sees property as creating a sphere of individual freedom and control (property-as-liberty); a pecuniary view sees property as a tool of economic investment (property-as-investment); and a progressive view sees property as serving a wide range of evolving communal values that include, but are not limited to, those advanced under both the libertarian and pecuniary conceptions (property-as-society). Against this backdrop, the Article offers two contentions. First, on normative grounds, it asserts that the conception …


Pipelines, Electrical Lines, And Little Pink Houses: Do Any Limits On "Public Use" Remain In Eminent Domain Law?, Kristin J. Hazelwood Jan 2018

Pipelines, Electrical Lines, And Little Pink Houses: Do Any Limits On "Public Use" Remain In Eminent Domain Law?, Kristin J. Hazelwood

Law Faculty Scholarly Articles

That property is more than mere dirt, brush, or rugged terrain is made obvious by the fervor with which individuals will defend their right to inhabit or use that property. Property can be valuable to individuals for myriad reasons, including an ancestral connection to the property; "historic, religious, and cultural significance;" or emotional attachment. The desire to preserve the right to use property or to protect it from environmental harm can create atypical activists, such as the Sisters of Loretto in Kentucky. The sisters opposed the construction of the pipeline across their pristine property and voiced their disapproval of the …


U.S. Supreme Court Surveys: 2016 Term. Murr. V. Wisconsin: Identifying The Proper "Parcel As A Whole" In Regulatory Takings Cases, Bruce I. Kogan Jan 2018

U.S. Supreme Court Surveys: 2016 Term. Murr. V. Wisconsin: Identifying The Proper "Parcel As A Whole" In Regulatory Takings Cases, Bruce I. Kogan

Law Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Written Testimony Of Gerald S. Dickinson For The U.S. Senate Hearing On Fencing Along The Southwest Border (Senate Committee On Homeland Security And Governmental Affairs), Gerald S. Dickinson Apr 2017

Written Testimony Of Gerald S. Dickinson For The U.S. Senate Hearing On Fencing Along The Southwest Border (Senate Committee On Homeland Security And Governmental Affairs), Gerald S. Dickinson

Testimony

It is with great pleasure that I submit this written testimony at the request of the Office of the Ranking Member, Senator McCaskill. I am pleased that the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is devoting its April 4, 2017 hearing to an examination of efforts to secure the southwest border through the construction of a wall. Further, as a law professor who writes and teaches in the areas of constitutional property and land use, I take great interest in the committee's focus on the legal authorities related to the wall construction along the U.S.-Mexico border.


Freeing The City To Compete, James J. Kelly Jr. Jan 2017

Freeing The City To Compete, James J. Kelly Jr.

Journal Articles

In this paper, I examine how the rights of owners, lenders and residents threaten the functioning of real markets in distressed urban neighborhoods, perpetuating the pall that vacant and abandoned houses cast over their future. Even a single abandoned house can present an example of how the rights of several stakeholders create a form of gridlock known as anticommons, which isolates that property from a potentially transformative transfer of title. In addition to this legal anticommons, some neighborhoods are so beset by vacant property problems that they require coordination of investment that is frustrated by both the multiplicity of private …


The New Politics Of New Property And The Takings Clause, Christopher Serkin Jan 2017

The New Politics Of New Property And The Takings Clause, Christopher Serkin

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

This Essay offers a broad gloss on the traditional politics of property protection and then catalogues a number of ways in which those politics have been changing. In many cases, the account is of fragmentation and fracture as once stable commitments have become much more contingent and fact dependent.' Admittedly, this characterization paints with an extremely broad brush. That is both its contribution and its weakness. This short Essay deliberately simplifies the characterization of preferences across the political spectrum. Much more nuanced definitions would better track the complexity of the underlying issues. Judges and scholars discussed below might also object …


Legislative Exactions And Progressive Property, Timothy M. Mulvaney Dec 2016

Legislative Exactions And Progressive Property, Timothy M. Mulvaney

Faculty Scholarship

Exactions — a term used to describe certain conditions that are attached to land-use permits issued at the government’s discretion — ostensibly oblige property owners to internalize the costs of the expected infrastructural, environmental, and social harms resulting from development. This Article explores how proponents of progressive conceptions of property might respond to the open question of whether legislative exactions should be subject to the same level of judicial scrutiny to which administrative exactions are subject in constitutional takings cases. It identifies several first-order reasons to support the idea of immunizing legislative exactions from heightened takings scrutiny. However, it suggests …


Appraising 9/11: 'Sacred' Value And Heritage In Neoliberal Times, Mateo Taussig-Rubbo Apr 2016

Appraising 9/11: 'Sacred' Value And Heritage In Neoliberal Times, Mateo Taussig-Rubbo

Journal Articles

On September 11, 2001, United Airlines Flight 93 — one of the four airplanes hijacked that day — crashed into a vacant parcel of land in rural Pennsylvania, killing all on board. For many, including family members of those killed in the attack and the Park Service that now manages the national memorial at the site, the former strip mine was transformed into ‘sacred’ ground. Unable to settle on a price with the landowner, in 2009 the government took the property through eminent domain. Focusing on the ongoing effort in United States of America v. 275.81 Acres of Land to …


The Strange Career Of Private Takings Of Private Property For Private Use, Jan G. Laitos Jan 2016

The Strange Career Of Private Takings Of Private Property For Private Use, Jan G. Laitos

Sturm College of Law: Faculty Scholarship

Part I summarizes the two private entities thattraditionally have been conferred the power to take private property for their own private use: (1) natural resource developers and (2) common carriers involved in, andresponsible for, our country’s transportation, storage, and distribution (TS&D) system for energy infrastructure—pipelines, electrical transmission lines, and rail lines. Part II considers the traditional rationale for those private takings, which typically relies on some version ofthe notion thatthe public atlarge may, or will, eventually benefit from this private exercise of eminent domain. Part III explores the four central problems associated with these kinds of private takings: (1) the …


A Solution In Search Of A Problem: Kelo Reform Over Ten Years, Wendell Pritchett Jan 2016

A Solution In Search Of A Problem: Kelo Reform Over Ten Years, Wendell Pritchett

All Faculty Scholarship

Kelo is NOT Dred Scott. Kelo is not only NOT Dred Scott, it was, as this Essay will argue, the right decision given the facts of the cases and the current state of legal jurisprudence. As an academic who has detailed the historic exploitation of eminent domain to uproot persons of color in this country, I find it interesting, and somewhat troubling, that the case has received so much criticism, much more criticism, I would argue, than other Supreme Court decisions that deserve condemnation. Certainly, eminent domain, like any other government power, must be regulated carefully. But upending …


Public Takings By The State For Private Use: A Maryland Case Study In Georges Creek Coal & Iron Company V. New Central Coal Company (1871-1874), Joshua T. Carback Jan 2015

Public Takings By The State For Private Use: A Maryland Case Study In Georges Creek Coal & Iron Company V. New Central Coal Company (1871-1874), Joshua T. Carback

Legal History Publications

This paper examines the legal controversy concerning New Central Company’s attempt to execute a public taking of the land of the Georges Creek Coal and Iron Company for its private use to build a railroad. This paper analyzes the significance of the case within the social, economic, and political context of the town of Lonaconing in Allegany County, Western Maryland, where the parties were situated. This paper also traces the procedural history of the case, including its appearance before the Allegany Circuit Court in 1872, and before the Maryland Court of Appeals in 1873 and 1874. Finally, this paper presents …


On Bargaining For Development, Timothy M. Mulvaney Jan 2015

On Bargaining For Development, Timothy M. Mulvaney

Faculty Scholarship

In his recent article, Bargaining for Development Post-Koontz, Professor Sean Nolon concludes that the Supreme Court’s recent ill-defined expansion of the circumstances in which land use permit conditions might give rise to takings liability in Koontz v. St. John’s River Water Management District will chill the state’s willingness to communicate with permit applicants about mitigation measures. He sets out five courses that government entities might take in this confusing and chilling post-Koontz world, each of which leaves something to be desired from the perspective of both developers and the public more generally.

This responsive essay proceeds in two parts. First, …


Progressive Property Moving Forward, Timothy M. Mulvaney Sep 2014

Progressive Property Moving Forward, Timothy M. Mulvaney

Faculty Scholarship

In his thought-provoking recent article, “The Ambition and Transformative Potential of Progressive Property,” Ezra Rosser contends that, in the course of laying the foundations of a theory grounded in property’s social nature, scholars who participated in the renowned 2009 Cornell symposium on progressive property have “glossed over” property law’s continuing conquest of American Indian lands and the inheritance of privileges that stem from property-based discrimination against African Americans. I fully share Rosser’s concerns regarding past and continuing racialized acquisition and distribution, if not always his characterization of the select progressive works he critiques. Where I focus in this essay, though, …


Judicial Takings: Musings On Stop The Beach, James E. Krier Jan 2014

Judicial Takings: Musings On Stop The Beach, James E. Krier

Articles

Judicial takings weren’t much talked about until a few years ago, when the Stop the Beach case made them suddenly salient. The case arose from a Florida statute, enacted in 1961, that authorizes public restoration of eroded beaches by adding sand to widen them seaward. Under the statute, the state has title to any new dry land resulting from restored beaches, meaning that waterfront owners whose land had previously extended to the mean high-tide line end up with public beaches between their land and the water. This, the owners claimed, resulted in a taking of their property, more particularly their …


Inclusionary Eminent Domain, Gerald S. Dickinson Jan 2014

Inclusionary Eminent Domain, Gerald S. Dickinson

Articles

This Article proposes a paradigm shift in takings law, namely “inclusionary eminent domain.” This new normative concept provides a framework that molds eminent domain takings and economic redevelopment into an inclusionary land assembly model equipped with multiple tools to help guide municipalities, private developers and communities construct or preserve affordable housing developments. The tools to achieve this include Community Benefit Agreements (“CBAs”), Land Assembly Districts (“LADs”), Community Development Corporations (“CDCs”), Land Banks (“LABs”), Community Land Trusts (“CLTs”) and Neighborhood Improvement Districts (“NIDs”). The origin of the concept derives from the zoning law context, where exclusionary zoning in the suburbs excluded …


Strategies For Making Sea-Level Rise Adaptation Tools 'Takings-Proof', Michael Allan Wolf Apr 2013

Strategies For Making Sea-Level Rise Adaptation Tools 'Takings-Proof', Michael Allan Wolf

UF Law Faculty Publications

While the costs of some Sea-Level Rise (SLR) adaptation tools are undeniably daunting, the American legal system poses an additional, potentially budget-busting impediment — the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Officials at all governmental strata and from all three branches should keep the demands made by the Takings Clause, as interpreted by the judiciary, in mind as they choose tools from the diverse SLR-adaptation toolbox, as they justify their choices to the electorate and other constituencies, as they put those tools to use, and as they defend that use from litigants claiming abuse. This …


A Federalist Blessing In Disguise: From National Inaction To Local Action On Underwater Mortgages, Robert C. Hockett, John Vlahoplus Jan 2013

A Federalist Blessing In Disguise: From National Inaction To Local Action On Underwater Mortgages, Robert C. Hockett, John Vlahoplus

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

While it is widely recognized that the mortgage debt overhang left by the housing price bubble and bust continues to operate as the principal drag upon U.S. macroeconomic recovery, few seem to appreciate just how locally concentrated the problem is. This paper takes the measure of the national mortgage debt overhang problem as a cluster of local problems warranting local action. It then elaborates on one form of such action that the localized nature of the ongoing mortgage crisis justifies - use of municipal eminent domain authority to purchase underwater loans, then modify them in a manner that benefits debtors, …


Paying Paul And Robbing No One: An Eminent Domain Solution For Underwater Mortgage Debt, Robert C. Hockett Jan 2013

Paying Paul And Robbing No One: An Eminent Domain Solution For Underwater Mortgage Debt, Robert C. Hockett

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

In the view of many analysts, the best way to assist “underwater” homeowners — those who owe more on their mortgages than their houses are worth — is to reduce the principal on their home loans. Yet in the case of privately securitized mortgages, such write-downs are almost impossible to carry out, since loan modifications on the scale necessitated by the housing market crash would require collective action by a multitude of geographically dispersed security holders. The solution, this study suggests, is for state and municipal governments to use their eminent domain powers to buy up and restructure underwater mortgages, …


Eminent Domain: The Solution To The Foreclosure Crisis Or Overstepping Government Boundaries?, Anne T. T. Jensen Jan 2013

Eminent Domain: The Solution To The Foreclosure Crisis Or Overstepping Government Boundaries?, Anne T. T. Jensen

Law Student Publications

This article will provide both an analysis of the legal concept of eminent domain and its likelihood of success in resuscitating real estate markets in towns like San Bernandino. Sections Two and Three will explore the background of the mortgage crisis and provide an in-depth description of the eminent domain proposal by the Mortgage Resolution Partners ("MRP"). Section Four takes a deeper look into the state and federal precedent on a municipality's power to use eminent domain, revealing that the definition of "legitimate public purpose" would likely apply to the seizing of mortgages. Finally, Section Five will focus on the …


The Cathedral Engulfed: Sea-Level Rise, Property Rights, And Time, J. Peter Byrne Jan 2012

The Cathedral Engulfed: Sea-Level Rise, Property Rights, And Time, J. Peter Byrne

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Sea-level rise will require many new initiatives in land use regulation to adapt to unprecedented climate conditions. Such government actions will prompt regulatory and other takings claims, and also will be shaped by apprehension of such claims. This article analyzes the categories of land use regulations and other government initiatives likely to be enacted to adapt to sea-level rise and anticipates the takings claims that may be brought against them. In addition to hard and soft coastal armoring, the article considers regulations intended to force or induce development to retreat from rising waters. Retreat regulations present difficult takings problems, because …


Eminent Domain And Racial Discrimination: A Bogus Equation, J. Peter Byrne Aug 2011

Eminent Domain And Racial Discrimination: A Bogus Equation, J. Peter Byrne

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This paper is a transcript of testimony by Professor J. Peter Byrne before the U.S. Civil Rights Commission on August 12, 2011.

This hearing addresses claims that the use of eminent domain for economic development unfairly and disproportionately harms racial and ethnic minorities. These claims draw on the history of urban renewal prior to the 1960’s, when many African Americans and others were displaced by publicly funded projects that bulldozed their homes in largely failed attempts to modernize cities. Justice Clarence Thomas’s dissent in Kelo v. City of New London further argued that the use of eminent domain for economic …


Not In My Atlantic Yards: Examining Netroots’ Role In Eminent Domain Reform, Kate Klonick Jan 2011

Not In My Atlantic Yards: Examining Netroots’ Role In Eminent Domain Reform, Kate Klonick

Faculty Publications

(Excerpt)

Since the Supreme Court's decision in Kelo v. City of New London, which expanded the state's power to condemn private property and transfer it to other private owners under the Fifth Amendment, there have been significant calls to curb the power of eminent domain through statutory reform. Scholars and jurists in favor of eminent domain reform have asserted that legislation is needed to protect private property rights against the rising tide of state power, with many arguing that such reform should incorporate a public approval process into land use decisions. Those opposed to eminent-domain reform argue that empowering …


Forced Sale Risk: Class, Race, And The "Double Discount", Thomas W. Mitchell, Stephen Malpezzi, Richard K. Green Jan 2010

Forced Sale Risk: Class, Race, And The "Double Discount", Thomas W. Mitchell, Stephen Malpezzi, Richard K. Green

Faculty Scholarship

What impact does a forced sale have upon a property owner's wealth? And do certain characteristics of a property owner such as whether they are rich or poor or whether they are black or white, tend to affect the price yielded at a forced sale? This Article addresses arguments made by some courts and legal scholars who have claimed that certain types of forced sales result in wealth maximizing, economic efficiencies. The Article addresses such economic arguments by returning to first principles and reviewing the distinction between sales conducted under fair market value conditions and sales conducted under forced sale …