This Friday, I will be speaking at a symposium on the Supreme Court and constitutional law at the Michigan State University Symposium on Science, Reason, and Modern Democracy. The symposium brings together constitutional law scholars to comment on recent developments in the Supreme Court's constitutional law jurisprudence. My paper covers the development of constitutional property rights doctrine. I will argue that, over the last twenty years, the Court has taken property rights more seriously than before, but still gives them much weaker protection than that accorded to other enumerated constitutional rights. I also contend that such second-class treatment for property rights is unjustified, and will attempt to counter standard defenses of the Court's double standard on property rights (such as claims that minimizing judicial protection for property rights is needed in order to defer to legislative expertise, facilitate redistribution to the poor, and protect the environment). Ultimately, I conclude that judicial protection for property rights will continue to be largely ineffective unless it attracts substantial support from liberal judges as well as conservative ones. In the process, I build on my work on cases such as Kelo v. City of New London and Wilkie v. Robbins.
If you are in the area and are interested in constitutional law or the work of the Court, the conference is a must-see. No, not because I will be speaking on property rights, but because there will be lots of big-name speakers addressing developments in other areas of constitutional law, including Yale's Reva Siegel on liberty and equality, Texas Dean Lawrence Sager on religion, Judge Michael McConnell giving a keynote address, and lots of other prominent con law scholars serving as speakers or commentators (see the link for the full list). The conference proceedings will be published in a forthcoming book, possibly by the University of Pennsylvania Press.