Volume 6

Private Property for the Politically Powerful

James Burling

Traditional Anglo-American law always considered property rights nearly sacrosanct, with the giants of the legal field equating private property with liberty and an area that was best not molested by government. A central purpose of government was seen to be a protector of private rights and liberties, including and especially, rights in property. And, so great was the regard for private property, that not even actions for “the common good” could violate it. Of course, the practical necessity of condemnation was recognized by early theorists such as Blackstone, who cautioned government to use that power sparingly—noting that it is not the sort of power that an individual man, or even a “set of men,” can exercise.

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6 BRIGHAM-KANNER PROPERTY RIGHTS CONF. J. 179 (2017).