Property Rights Foundation of America®

Another Decade Begins

Beginning with a reference to the Supreme Court's common attitude that property rights are rather like a "poor relation" to the other constitutional rights, Roger Pilon, J.D., Ph.D., Vice President for Legal Studies and Director of the Center for Constitutional Studies at Cato Institute in Washington, D.C., opened the day with an unforgettable speech at our Eleventh Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights on October 13 at the Holiday Inn Turf in Albany, New York. Entitled "The Supreme Court's Protection of Private Property Rights: The Founders' Dream, the Owner's Nightmare," his compelling address traced the history of Natural Law and the foundations for our constitutional rights, proceeding to the present time through high court decisions, the New Deal, and down to the hope that we can have in today's context.

The morning's engaging speeches flew by. Soon it was time for William Perry Pendley's keynote address. Mr. Pendley, who is the President and Chief legal Officer of Mountain States Legal Foundation in Lakewood, Colorado, addressed the topic of "The New Wars for the West." He began with the gripping narrative of John Shuler's defense of his life against an attacking grizzly bear, a battle which was exceeded by the Mountain States Legal Foundation's successful defense of him against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which spent eight years trying to convict of him of illegally killing an endangered species. Mr. Perry's constitutional litigation ranges from rails to trails to the right of contract regardless of race, an issue where he has wound up in the U.S. Supreme Court three times. He said he is asked, "Why are we optimistic? We have confidence in the American people."

Even with the many speeches by national experts and two noted grassroots leaders packed into the full day's event, there was still ample time during the day for audience questions and speakers' responses. The day surely met the theme of "Forging Ahead for Private Property Rights," as those present expressed their enthusiasm and appreciation for the opportunity to hear and meet these speakers. We hope that you enjoy the impressions of the day caught in Peter LaGrasse's photographs.

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© 2007 Carol W. LaGrasse
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