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The Myth of RightsThe Purposes and Limits of Constitutional Rights$
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Ashutosh Bhagwat

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195377781

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195377781.001.0001

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Property Rights and Economic Regulation

Property Rights and Economic Regulation

(p.151) 7 Property Rights and Economic Regulation
The Myth of Rights


Oxford University Press

This chapter examines protection of private property and the sanctity of contract from governmental overreaching in the Constitution. In the body of the Constitution itself, the Contracts Clause of Article I, Section 10 specifically forbids state governments from “impairing the Obligation of Contracts”; one of the very few limitations imposed on states by the Constitution, it should be noted, and the only one (other than the ban on titles of nobility) that is not understandable as simply preventing state governments from intruding on the powers of the new national government. In the Bill of Rights, two provisions of the Fifth Amendment specifically protect property: the Due Process Clause, which provides that no person shall “be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law”; and the so-called Takings Clause, which states that “nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.” Finally, the Fourth Amendment's assurance 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” also has the effect of protecting private property from governmental intrusions.

Keywords:   U.S. Constitution, constitutional rights, individual rights, Contracts Clause, search and seizure, Bill of Rights

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