Property Rights Foundation of America®


James Burling

James Burling


James S. Burling is Senior Counsel with Pacific Legal Foundation, a nonprofit, tax-exempt public interest law firm. Pacific Legal Foundation was formed in 1973 to litigate nationwide in defense of individual and economic freedoms and to represent responsible citizens supporting sound environmental and land-use litigation.

Mr. Burling attended the University of Arizona College of Law in Tucson, where he served as a student editor for the Law Review and received a J.D. degree in 1983. Prior to attending law school, Mr. Burling was employed as an exploration geologist for AMAX Exploration in Tucson. Mr. Burling received his undergraduate degree from Hamilton College in New York in Geology and English and received a Masters of Science from Brown University in Geological Sciences. From 1986 through 1988, Mr. Burling opened and managed the foundation's Alaska office. He is now Director of Property Rights at the foundation in Sacramento.

Mr. Burling litigates extensively on issues involving environmental regulation and private property rights before courts nationwide, including the U.S. Supreme Court. He also lectures on these issues to landowners and attorneys throughout the United States. On October 11, 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will hear an important wetland case brought by Pacific Legal Foundation involving a 70 year old Michigan grandfather, John Rapanos, who federal prosecutors are threatening with prison time and a $10 million fine for moving soil on his property. Mr. Burling's publications include "Property Rights, Endangered Species, Wetlands, and Other Critters — Is it Against Nature to Pay for a Taking?" (27 Land and Water Review 309, 1992) and "Protecting Private Property Rights in Aquatic Resources after Lucas" (American Bar Association, ed, Water Law—Trends, Policies, and Practice, 1995), and many other works.

Conference Speeches

"Is the Doctrine of Regulatory Takings Constitutional?" - Speech from the Twenty-Second Annual Conference
"Property Rights in the Supreme Court" - Speech from the Seventeenth Annual Conference
"Forward for Private Property Rights" - Speech from the Ninth Annual Conference
"Democracy, Property, and Land-Use Regulation" - Speech from the Third Annual Conference

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