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Private Property Rights — National

New information added on November 25, 2019

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12th Annual National Conference
on Private Property Rights
October 2008

Speeches from the Seventh Annual New York State Conference on Private Property Rights
October 18, 2003

"A History Lesson" - Book review by Jigs Gardner
Progress and Property Rights: From the Greeks to Magna Carta to the Constitution, Walter F. Todd (American Institute for Economic Research 2009, 98 pp.)
The plain, cogent style of this account of the development in practice of the idea of property rights in the West make this "the book to read."
Highly recommended.

"Inalienable Private Property Rights Being Revoked" - Book Review by Nathaniel R. Dickinson, PRFA, October 17, 2006)
During the Twentieth Century, private property rights, the cornerstone of freedom, were greatly diminished in exchange for government power under environmental law, regulatory takings, rent control, scenic regulations, historic preservation, architectural review, and eminent domain abuse. The radical left is winning.

"National Wildlife Federation Admits Piracy and Pays $350,000 For Copyright Infringement" News Release - March 2, 2005
The National Wildlife Federation has admitted to pirating the copyrighted work, The First Forest, by children's book author John Gile and has paid $350,000.00 to terminate civil copyright litigation in Federal Court.

January 2003
Richard Pombo Named Chairman of the House Resources Committee — Nationwide Victory for the Private Property Rights and Wise use Movement
full press release

March 2001:
"Federal Courts Put Napster in Line with Copyright Law"

January 2001:
"Oregon Voters Protect Property Rights"

Additional Helpful Organizations
Additional Helpful

American Institute of Economic Research
Charles E. Murray, President & CEO
(The American Institute of Economic Research was founded in 1933 and publishes books, research reports and newsletters on economic subjects, with information independent of special interests, whether commercial or political.)
address & web site

American Association of Small Property Owners
F. Patricia Callahan, President
(Connects hundreds of associations of small landlords and property owners)

Cato Institute
(libertarian think tank, defender of private property rights)

Competitive Enterprise Institute
(free enterprise think tank, defender of private property rights, helps grassroots leaders)

Pacific Legal Foundation
(litigates important private property cases)
address & web site

Oregonians in Action
(Influential property rights group, brought Dolan v. Tigard successfully)

Links to our Friends and Other Resources
(Names, addresses, short descriptions, and web site links, where available)

Additional Resources
Additional Resources

Patients Rights Council
(Formerly: International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide)

A human rights group to meet the urgent need for individuals and organizations who oppose euthanasia to work together to provide information on euthanasia and related issues.
address & web site

Essential Books & Publications
Essential Books
& Publications

The Noblest Triumph - Private Property and Prosperity Through the Ages - By Tom Bethell (St. Martin's, 1998)
Traces private property through history and shows that for almost two centuries economists
increasingly ignored private property while approving socialism. Demonstrates the triumph of private property in promoting prosperity, and compares experiences throughout the world.

The Future of Freedom — Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad — By Faread Zakaria — Book Review by Nate Dickinson (PRFA, Apr. 29, 2003)
Nate Dickinson's insight about the progress of democracy and liberty. Is the future a single trend or separate paths?

Bernard H. Siegan, Property Rights: From Magna Carta to the Fourteenth Amendment (Social Philosophy & Policy Center/Transaction Publishers, 2002) Immediately acclaimed analysis of the importance of property rights in the Anglo-American constitutional tradition. Full Synopsis
Ordering Information

James Bovard, Feeling Your Pain (St. Martin's Press, 2000)
The explosion and abuse of government power in the Clinton-Gore years

(James Bovard, Freedom in Chains (St. Martin's Press, New York, 1999)
"James Bovard has become the roving inspector general of the modern state..." - The Wall Street Journal

James Bovard, Lost Rights
(St. Martin's Press, New York, 1994)

Richard A. Epstein, Takings—Private Property and the Power of Eminent Domain (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1985)

Bernard H. Siegan, Property and Freedom—The Constitution, The Courts, and Land-Use Regulation (Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick 1997)

Chuck Diaz, President
The Speak Up America newspaper, so much appreciated by the property rights movement, is now the Speak Up America web site, both in English and Spanish.
For the first time or place, anyone in a Spanish-speaking country will be able to read articles by Mona Charen, Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell and Chuck Diaz.


In-Depth Information

  • James S. Burling"Property Rights in the U. S. Supreme Court" - By James S. Burling, Director of Litigation, Pacific Legal Foundation, Sacramento, California, and Principal Attorney in PLF's Property Rights Practice Group., Opening Address, Seventeenth Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights, sponsored by the Property Rights Foundation of America, Inc., October 26, 2013
    Focusing on U. S. Supreme Court decisions related to government regulation of private property, whether a Fifth Amendment Taking is recognized and whether the situation is "ripe" for litigation, James Burling spoke especially about recent victories beginning with the Supreme Court's recognition of extortion in Nollan v. California Coastal Commission and Dolan v. the City of Tigard, and, more recently, Koontz v. St. John's River Water Management District decided in 2013 and the 2012 decision recognizing a temporary taking in Arkansas Game and Fish Commission v. United States. Pacific Legal Foundation litigated all of these important cases except the Dolan case.
  • James V. DeLong"The Special Interest State: Causes and Cures," By James V. DeLong, Author & Journalist, Washington, D.C., Address to the Sixteenth Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights, Latham, N.Y., October 20, 2012 (Property Rights Foundation of America, Inc.)
    Under the broad theme "renewing the American republic," Jim DeLong explained that government has let itself be captured, piecemeal, by a host of special interests, not only the crony capitalists, but by ideological interests such as the environmentalists. His pervasive wry humor imbued his address with a sense of the totality of the corruption of the vision of the Founders.
    "We spend a trillion dollars on welfare now and a lot more on middle class entitlements of various sorts but we don't spend it because of any philosophy of government, we spend it because of political pressures."
    A penetrating contrast is inescapable as the speech develops from the motives of the framers of the Constitution to a fascinating analysis of government in today
    's society, followed by a return to a discussion of the moral basis of government.
  • Jigs Gardner"The American Frontier & Private Property Rights: A Personal Journey" - By Jigs Gardner, Farmer and Writer Essex, New York, Fifteenth Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Latham, N.Y., October 29, 2011)
    Jigs Gardner found in historical differences the explanation for the contrast between the proud self-reliance of Americans and the dependency on government of Canadians in Nova Scotia, where he moved from Vermont with his wife Jo Ann to establish a farm in 1970.
  • Ellen McClay"A Word about UNESCO" - By Ellen McClay, Author, Arizona; Eleventh Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y., October 13, 2007)
    Tracing her involvement back to the fifties, author Ellen McClay refers to individuals, including Alger Hiss and Secretary of State Dean Achenson, who were involved with UNESCO's role in changing textbooks in the United States to derogate Washington and the founding fathers, as well as private property rights, while substituting Marxist values.
  • Thomas J. Borelli"Invest for Freedom-To Stop the Use of Capitalism Against Capitalism" - By Thomas J. Borelli, Ph.D., Managing Partner and Portfolio Manager, Free Enterprise Action Fund, Eleventh Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y., October 13, 2007)
    Environmental organizations are harnessing major corporations like Pepsico, Caterpillar, General Electric and JP Morgan Chase against their own corporate interests and capitalism itself to promote universal government government-funded health care and an economy centered on global warming-based regulation. Acting as a shareholder activist, the Free Enterprise Action Fund successfully sought a stockholder proxy at JP Morgan Chase against their support for global warming regulation.
  • Roger Pilon, Ph. D., J. D."The Supreme Court's Protection of Private Property Rights: The Founders' Dream, the Owner's Nightmare" - By Roger Pilon, J.D., Ph.D., Vice President for Legal Affairs and Director, Center for Constitutional Studies, Cato Institute, Eleventh Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y., October 13, 2007)
    Roger Pilon presents an overview of private property rights, beginning with first principles, including a discussion of the history of the founding documents, followed by the police power and eminent domain power; then four scenarios of government restrictionsgovernment actions that reduce the value of private property, regulation to stop nuisance, regulatory takings, and full eminent domain; and finally the four categories of eminent domain: transfer to the public, transfer to a private owner for public utilities and the like, condemnation for blight reduction, and transfer to another private party for economic development. Highlights of court rulings illustrate how the Progressive Era led to today's regulatory state.
  • Carol W. LaGrasse"Our Stolen Legacy: The Betrayal of the Declaration of Independence for the Cause of Landscape Preservation" - By Carol W. LaGrasse, President, PRFA, July 5, 2007
    Government from distant places, fatiguing the people into compliance; a multitude of new offices and swarms of officers to harass the peopleA government far from the vision of justice based on all men being created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Landscape preservation from the regional, state, federal and international level takes precedence, eradicating freedom.
  • "Rancher Frank Robbins Loses at the Supreme Court" - By Carol W. LaGrasse, Reprinted from the New York Property Rights Clearinghouse, Vol. 11, No. 3 (PRFA Summer 2007.
    In June, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a mercurial decision in Robbins v. Wilkie reversing the jury verdict that Bureau of Land Management officials violated the Fifth Amendment private property rights of Frank Robbins by repeatedly harassing him to retaliate because he refused to grant a free right-of-way easement across his Wyoming ranch. Only Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg held that Robbins' property rights deserved protection.
  • "A Property Rights Garden of Childlike Verses" - By Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA, December 2006)
    "Rub-a-dub, dub/ Three men in a tub/…Turn them out, knaves all three." Nursery rhymes, the language of children, lay bare the traits of government today.
  • "Private Property Rights—Freedom in the Balance" -Keynote Address by John Fund, The Wall Street Journal, Tenth Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y., October 14, 2006)
    "Often the best template by which to judge a member of Congress is not whether they have an R or D behind their name, not whether they say they are a conservative or say they are a liberal, but what their philosophical impulses are towards Kelo."
  • James Burling"Forward for Private Property Rights"-by James S. Burling, Senior Counsel, Pacific Legal Foundation, Speech to the Ninth Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y., October 22, 2005)
    Go to the mirror to see the real enemy of property rights, ourselves. Pacific Legal Foundation has won lawsuits such as the Suitum and Palazzolo cases by looking at what happens to real-life people hit by regulations. In the older Nollan and Dolan cases, the property owner won because of the nonsensical results of regulation. But an oil company was not a sympathetic litigant in Chevron v. Lingle, and the justices failed to grasp economic logic. The Endangered Species Act Reform Act has important provisions to help landowners.
  • Bill Moshofsky"Regulatory Taking Compensation—The Successful Oregon Measure 37 Referendum" - By Bill Moshofsky, President, Oregonians in Action, Tigard, Oregon; Speech to the Ninth Annual Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y. October 22, 2005)
    The Oregon Measure 37 referendum created a solution to the "regulatory overkill" that besets Oregon's property owners, under arguably the strictest land use planning regulations in the country, excessive wetlands, endangered species and forest practice regulation. Oregonians in Action is still fighting against government's attempt to nullify the law.
  • "Oregon Voters Approve Measure to Pay for Regulatory Takings" - By Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA, November 2004)
    In a victory for private property rights, "takings" compensation received 60% of the vote in an Oregon referendum. The law, passed in a traditionally liberal state, could start a national movement.
  • Craig M. Call"Utah Property Rights Ombudsman — A National Model" - By Craig M. Call, Property Rights Ombudsman, State of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah; Speech to the Eighth Annual Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y. October 23, 2004)
    The first property rights ombudsman in the world is a powerful negotiator for small property ownersmainly homeowners facing eminent domain, land use takings and land use ordinances imposed by state and local government.
  • Becky Norton Dunlop"Restoring Constitutionality and Rationality to
    Environmental Protection"
    - By Becky Norton Dunlop, Vice President, The Heritage Foundation, Washington, D.C.; Speech to the Eighth Annual Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y. October 23, 2004)
    Environmental policies that emanate from liberty are the most successful. But constitutional principles of liberty, private property, due process, speech trials, and just compensation have been diminished in the name of environmental protection. We must advance an ownership society. Communicating with Congress and networking with potential allies are essential.
  • Dick Patten"Repealing the Death Tax—Preserving Small Businesses" - By Dick Patten, Executive Director, American Family Business Institute, Washington, D.C.; Speech to the Eighth Annual Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y. October 23, 2004)
    Private property rights were held to be absolutely inalienable in the American constitutional system. But the Communist Manifesto of Marx and Engels began to have influence, calling for the abolition of private property and inheritance. The 10% inheritance tax of World War I rose to 77% by 1941, and is currently at 48%. A close battle rages in the U.S. Senate for permanent repeal.
  • Henry St. John FitzGerald"Inverse Condemnation—The Rationale for Compensation for Regulatory Takings" - By Henry St. John FitzGerald, Attorney at Law, Arlington, Virginia; Speech to the Eighth Annual Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y. October 23, 2004)
    The Constitution is the biggest bulwark to protect our rights, including private property rights. Government keeps trying to expand its power, and important cases hold its power in check. The cases protecting property owners from regulatory takings began in 1922 with Pennsylvania Coal. "Inverse condemnation" is when so many land rights have been taken away that a Fifth Amendment Taking occurs.
  • "Property Rights Foundation of America Asks U.S. Supreme Court for Fair Hearing for Litigants" - PRFA, August 31, 2004
    Chander and Ashima Kant's house worth $199,000 was disposed of by Montgomery, Md., for $6,020 to pay a disputed bill, but the courts haven't allowed the Kants to have a hearing on their claim of discrimination. PRFA has filed a friend of the court brief before the U.S. Supreme Court because the federal rules are meant to allow litigants to bring issues before the court so that they are prevented from losing suits where they would otherwise win.
  • "U.S. Supreme Court Brings Reason to Punitive Damages - State Farm Ruling Builds on the Record in 1996 BMW Case"
    - By Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA, May 31, 2003)
    Justice Anthony M. Kennedy held for the majority of the Supreme Court that a punitive damages award of $145 million was excessive for an award of $1 million in compensatory damages in the case of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. v. Campbell, thereby strenthening the trend to bring punitive awards within the bounds of reason that was widely applauded in the Court's 1996 ruling in BMW of North America, Inc. v. Gore.
  • Tom Bethell"The Noblest Triumph — Private Property, The Historical Route to Prosperity" - by Tom Bethell, Senior Editor, The American Spectator, Speech at the Sixth Annual New York Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, November 16, 2002)
    Private property has been neglected by economists, but is the logical starting point of economic analysis. Mr. Bethell points to the role of private property in the development of Western civilization, contrasting it with the failed one-hundred year "experiment" in Communism.
  • Jeff Williams"Private Property Rights of Farmers: Updates in Takings and Related Case Law" - By Jeff Williams and Leah Hurtgen, New York State Farm Bureau (Sixth Annual Conference on Private Property Rights, PRFA - November 16, 2002)
    A broad overview of significant recent cased that have occurred in New York State and in other parts of this country, which affect agriculture and other land-intensive business such as logging and will touch individual property owners: Tahoe-Sierra Preservation Council, Inc. v. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (122 S. Ct. 1465 (2002); the victorious Palazzolo v. Rhode Island and related historic cases; Town of Lysander v. Hafner (New York State Court of Appeals, October 18, 2001); the disappointing Long Island Pine Barrens v. Town of Riverhead; the California case Pronsolino v. EPA; and another Ninth Circuit case Borden Ranch v. Army Corps of Engineers.
  • "Supreme Court Rejects 'Categorical' Compensation for Temporary Taking" — By Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA, April 27, 2002)
    Justice Stevens writes that the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency took only a "temporal slice" of the property interest by imposing lengthy building moratoria. No compensation to landowners is required. The troublesome ruling broadly affirmed the justice of central planning, but left open room for "ad hoc" appeals for compensation for temporary takings.
  • Jay H. Lehr, Ph. D."Shaky Foundations — The Exaggerated Basis for Environmental Land-Use Controls" - Jay H. Lehr, Ph.D., President Environmental Education Enterprises, Inc., Ostrander, Ohio, Reprinted from the Proceedings of the Third Annual New York Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, 1998)
    An environmental scientist for 44 years who helped write every piece of federal environmental legislation between 1965 and 1987, Jay Lehr states that today's wetlands enforcement is irrational; that the Endangered Species Act is one of "the most terrible pieces of legislation in the whole environmental arena"; that pollution of our air, water, soil, and from solid waste has been greatly curtailed; and that some issues, including radon and ozone, are a farce.
  • Tom Rawles"Western States Directions to Regain Land-Use Sovereignty" - By Tom Rawles, Chairman, Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, Phoenix, Arizona, Reprinted from Proceedings of the First Annual New York Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, 1995)
    The federal and state governments, and Indian tribes own 87 % of the land in Arizona. State sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment should be implemented. Protections for property rights to implement the Nollan and Dolan decisions, to provide "Takings" compensation, and to do "Takings" assessments of legislation should be passed in each state.
  • "The Arizona Property Rights Referendum" - Presented by Tom Rawles, Chairman, Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, Phoenix, Arizona, Reprinted from Proceedings of the First Annual New York Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, 1995)
    "Takings" implications of proposed governmental actions shall be assessed by the office of the Attorney General and permit requirements shall minimize restrictions on private property.
  • "State Legislation to Protect Private Property Owners" - By W. Christopher Doss, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Reprinted from Proceedings of the First Annual Conference on
    Private Property Rights
    (PRFA, 1995)
    Large corporations and developers are delighted with regulation, because that helps cut down on competition. Chris Doss's important ideas include the first mention of "informed consent for conservation easements" and "mandated review property taxes" after regulation decreases property value.
  • James Bovard"Government, the New Leviathan" - James Bovard, Author, Public Policy Analyst, from Proceedings of the Second Annual New York Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, 1996)
    One of the most radical changes in American's lives in recent years is the proliferation of asset forfeiture laws. Federal agents have confiscated over $5 billion in cash, cars, homes, boats and other property from citizens in the last 10 years - in most cases, with no proof of criminal wrongdoing by the owner.
  • John McClaughry"Social Property and the New Feudalism" - John McClaughry, ret. Vermont State Senator; President, Ethan Allen Institute, Concord, Vt., from Proceedings of the Second Annual New York Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, 1996)
  • "A View Through the Grand Delusion" - James Bovard, Author, Public Policy Analyst, Rockville, Maryland, from Proceedings of the Fourth Annual New York Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, 1999)

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