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Property Rights

by webmaster last modified 2012-01-08 02:50 PM

Private property rights are embodied in the US constitution, yet cases abound where government oversteps or abuses its authority.

The fifth amendment to the constitution states that "No person shall be . . . deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

The fourth amendment states that "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Both of these amendments provide constitutional protection regarding the rights of property owners. There are several current property rights issues, including eminent domain (the taking of private property for public use), nonconsensual or warrantless searches or "inspections" and the balancing of environmental concerns and regulations with the rights of private property owners.

The Private Property Rights page at the Institute for Justice web site describes a number of court cases involving abuses of eminent domain, environmental restrictions on private property, unreasonable searches and civil asset forfeiture.  The Institute for Justice has also recently launched Castle Coalition, focused specifically on eminent domain abuse.

The Property Rights Congress of America focuses primarily on public land use, but also addresses the taking of private land. In addition, their web site includes many links to smaller, regional organizations dealing with property rights.

The Property Rights Foundation of America is "dedicated to the fundamental right to own and use private property as guaranteed in the United States Constitution."

For more information on the rights of homeowners and renters to restrict administrative searches/inspections of homes in non-emergency situations, click here.

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