In Federalist 10 James Madison wrote that the first object of government was the protection of the diversity of the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate. The right to acquire, protect, and enjoy property was considered to be one of the fundamental, inalienable natural rights of mankind, and it is the purpose that justifies government. “In a word,” Madison wrote in 1792, “as a man is said to have a right to his property, he may equally be said to have a property in his rights.”


Powell v. Humboldt. California appellate brief arguing in favor of property rights against excessive and capricious regulation by a County. The County sought an easement for aircraft noise in exchange for a retroactive permit for a covered porch installed by a prior owner. The appellate court issued a ruling narrowly construing the scope of the easement so that the airport cannot rely on it to defend against claims of increased noise or changed traffic patterns. The case is now closed.

Brandt v. United States. CCJ signed on to a brief written by Pacific Legal Foundation in this case before the Supreme Court that tests whether Congress can change the rules after it sells property to private parties. On March 10, 2014, the Supreme Court issued its decision ruling for the property owners. The Court noted that the government had made contrary arguments in a case several years ago in an effort to defeat claims by railroad companies to a greater property interest in the railroad easements. The Chief Justice wrote: “The Government loses th[e] argument today, in large part because it won when it argued the opposite before this Court more than 70 years ago[.]” The case is now closed.

Download the full brief here: Amicus Brief, Brandt v. United States