by Christina Sandefur
Last month, I posted about a new project of the Cato Institute, The Pursuit, a podcast about government action and individual liberty. I joined host Tess Terrible for two episodes of the 6-part series to talk about the importance of property rights.
In the final episode, released today, I offer a vision of property rights as the foundation of all other rights, what all other rights are built upon, the Cornerstone of Liberty. America’s Founders understood this and referred to private property in the Constitution more than any other right. That’s why our Declaration of Independence refers to the unalienable rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” In order to pursue happiness – the American Dream – we need to know that our property rights will be secure.
Also in this episode, Dana Berliner and Scott Bullock of the Institute for Justice talk about the threats property owners still face from government eminent domain abuse. IJ represented Susette Kelo in a legal challenge that yielded one of the most controversial decisions in Supreme Court history: the 2005 case in which the Court allowed state officials to seize people’s homes through eminent domain to make way for private redevelopment projects that would, in theory, improve the overall economy. Thanks to the recent release of a book and movie based on the Kelo v. New London case, Susette’s story will not be forgotten.
Today, our property rights remain vulnerable to attack, prompting Tess to ask us, “What’s next?” The Goldwater Institute is promoting a package of property rights protections for states across the nation that want to ensure that home and business owners don’t lose one of the most essential human rights: the right of property ownership.
You can subscribe to The Pursuit on iTunes here.
Christina Sandefur is Executive Vice President of the Goldwater Institute