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Field Guide to Private Property Rights

Americans are passionate about their property rights, and disagreements can pit neighbor against neighbor. The issue of eminent domain can arouse the fury of many citizens, who take seriously the last clause of the Fifth Amendment—nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. The infamous 2005 Kelo v New London Eminent Domain case (the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of New London) generated anger and discussion on both sides of this debate. These articles and links examine property rights, government regulations, eminent domain and much more.


Property Rights News

Texas Supreme Court reverses decisions two state agency permits; Removes Denbury Green Pipeline common carrier status, (The Southeast Texas Record, Aug. 30, 2011).

Empty Atlantic City boarding home near casinos selling for $5 million, (Press of Atlantic City, Aug. 29, 2011).

A stake in the sand, (New York Times, Mar. 15, 2010).

City's undue delay in condemning property can constitute inverse condemnation, (Appraisal Journal, Winter 2009). Q

Comparable sales that occur after a taking can be considered in establishing fair value, (Appraisal Journal, Winter 2009). Q

Who owns the moon? The galactic government vs the UN, (National Geographic, July 17, 2009).


Eminent Domain

In 1998, 15 residents in New London, CT resisted attempts by the Pfizer Company to purchase their homes (Pfizer had built a new plant and wanted the additional land to sell to commercial developers). The city cited eminent domain and the case went to the Supreme Court. On June 23, 2005, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the City of New London in a 5-4 decision.

Major California Property Rights Victory for Landowners in Eminent Domain Abuse Fight, Institute for Justice, Apr. 22, 2011).

Texas house OKs restrictions on using eminent domain, (Houston Chronicle, Apr. 13, 2011).

Eminent domain at center of property rights bill, (The Herald Everett, Mar. 25, 2011).

Pfizer to Leave City That Won Land-Use Case, (New York Times, Nov. 12, 2009).

50 state report card - tracking eminent domain reform legislation since Kelo, (Castle Coalition, July 16, 2009).

Property owners get ‘consolation prize’ on eminent domain reform, (Texas Farm Bureau, June 1, 2009).

Eminent domain challenges the property valuation process, (CCIM, Jan./Feb. 2009).

Eminent domain: A review of the issues, (Journal of Real Estate Literature, 2009). Q

The frontier of eminent domain, Why aren’t Kelo activists also incensed over natural resource development takings?, (Regulation, Summer 2008).

Kelo's consequences, (Wall Street Journal, June 23, 2007).  Q

Kelo v. City of New London, (Harvard Law Review, 2006).

"In every civilized society property rights
 must be carefully safeguarded; ordinarily
 and in the great majority of cases,
human rights and property rights are 
fundamentally and in the long run, identical."  ~ Theodore Roosevelt 


Legal & Legislative Issues

Court: Natural shore is Lake Erie property line, (Coshocton Tribune, Sept. 15, 2011).

Property rights limited in budget bill, (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, June 13, 2011).

The hidden costs of predatory takings, (Realty Times, Feb. 13, 2007).

Playing the takings game: how government regulates away property rights, (The Goldwater Institute, June 13, 2006).

An overview of the U.S. Supreme Court "takings" law, (National Association of REALTORS®—Law and Policy, 1997).


eBooks & Other Resources

Books, Videos, Research Reports & More

The resources below are available for loan through Information Central. Up to three books, tapes, CDs and/or DVDs can be borrowed for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10. Call Information Central at 800-874-6500 for assistance.

Evicted! Property Rights and Eminent Domain, Adobe PDF eBook

Field Guides & More

These field guides and other resources in the Virtual Library may also be of interest:

Field Guide to Water Rights & Resources Issues

InfoCentral Blog


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The inclusion of links on this field guide does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this field guide complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.