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October 9th, 2012 — By — In News & Events

Timely Discussions Scheduled at the 9th Annual Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conference

The Ninth Annual Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conference is taking place this week (Thursday & Friday, Oct. 11-12, 2012) in Williamsburg, Virginia and once again the Conference has coordinated an outstanding group of speakers and discussion topics.

Of particular interest to us is a panel entitled “Property Rights in Times of Economic Crisis,” which features Owners’ Counsel Hawaii attorney, Robert H. Thomas, along with a number of distinguished property law scholars. This timely panel will explore why protecting property rights is especially important during down economic times, whether established rules of property law contribute to such crises, and will consider ways property rights might solve a crisis either independently or at the instigation of government.

“When the economy turns downward, the temptation is to throw out long-standing rules, and look for new and perhaps radical solutions,” explained Robert.  One of the proposals that he will discuss is the effort to get local governments to condemn “underwater” mortgages by eminent domain, in order to lower homeowners’ debt. “I have grave doubts about both the legality and the wisdom of this proposal,” he notes. “My talk will focus on how property rights should not be casually tossed aside when times get tight.”  (Check Robert’s blog for news from the conference.)

Owners’ Counsel Michigan-based eminent domain attorney, Alan T. Ackerman and Virginia-based member, Joseph T. Waldo, will also take part in the Conference.  Alan and Joe will join The Honorable LeRoy F. Millette, Jr, Justice of the Virginia Supreme Court, and two accomplished legal scholars in a discussion focusing upon how the judiciary shapes the law by the manner in which it defines takings and issues relating to the power of eminent domain.  Additionally, Alan’s article “Incorporation of the Right to Just Compensation: The Fourteenth Amendment vs. The Takings Clause” will be published this year in the inaugural volume of the Conference Journal.

This Conference is near and dear to the Owners’ Counsel as it is named in recognition of two property rights attorneys whom we hold in very high esteem, Toby Prince Brigham and Gideon Kanner.  Toby and Gideon have dedicated their life’s work to defending the right of private property ownership.

UPDATE:  See Robert Thomas’s October 15th post here in which he shares his remarks from the 2012 Conference panel on “Property Rights in Times of Economic Crisis.”  See also our post here announcing the publication of the inaugural Brigham-Kanner Conference Journal.