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The Guardian of Every Other RightA Constitutional History of Property Rights$
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James W. Ely

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195323337

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195323337.001.0001

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Property Rights and the Regulatory State

Property Rights and the Regulatory State

(p.142) 8 Property Rights and the Regulatory State
The Guardian of Every Other Right

James W. Ely

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the impact of the emergence of the regulatory state on property rights in America following World War 2. During this period many regulations went far beyond the traditional health and safety rationale, and placed costly burdens on property owners. These included the drive to secure equal rights for racial minorities, and the campaigns for environmental and consumer protection which generated a host of new laws that further restricted the use of property and economic liberty. Though the Supreme Court continued to vigorously protect interstate markets, they were somewhat less deferential to state laws that infringed on property and contractual rights.

Keywords:   regulatory state, property rights, property owners, racial minorities, consumer protection, Supreme Court, contractual rights

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