Setting boundaries for property rights

August 31, 2009 | By TIMOTHY SANDEFUR

Author: Timothy Sandefur

The National Law Journal has published my article about the case of Stop The Beach Renourishment v. Florida, which the Supreme Court has decided to hear later this year. Excerpt:

When the U.S. Constitution was written, there was broad consensus in America that private property was a fundamental human right and that government existed to protect it, not to manipulate it to serve purposes politicians deemed more important. But today, the nation's intellectual elite — and particularly judges — have rejected the traditional principles underlying property rights. They see property as simply a privilege the government can alter or rearrange at will. America's founders believed that a person's right to own, buy, sell and use property was a timeless moral principle, not a temporary expedient that changes based on who wins elections. Hence the clash between today's lawmakers — who want maximum power to manipulate property — and permanent constitutional principles designed to protect each individual's right to pursue happiness.

PLF filed a friend of the court brief in this case along with our friends at the Cato Institute and the National Federation of Independent Businesses.