PLF’s Burling part of property rights conference in The Hague


SACRAMENTO, CA – October 20, 2016 – (RealEstateRama) — This year’s Annual Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conference, sponsored by William & Mary Law School, is being held this week in The Hague, Netherlands. For the seventh time, Jim Burling, Pacific Legal Foundation’s Director of Litigation, is a featured panelist.

Pacific Legal Foundation

The international conference brings together esteemed scholars, jurists, and practitioners to explore recent developments in the law that affect property rights on a global scale.

This year’s conference will be presented in cooperation with the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies of Leiden University. Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto, President of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy (ILD), headquartered in Lima, Peru, will receive the 2016 Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Prize at this year’s conference.

The title of Burling’s panel is “Eminent Domain and Expropriation as Wealth Redistribution Tools.” It will address the proper uses of eminent domain, and the public debate over its employment for private-sector economic development, among other purposes that have generated controversy. The discussion will extend the debate to the international arena by bringing in comparative perspectives and sharing lessons learned.

“This conference will provide a great opportunity to compare notes and strategies with scholars and lawyers across the globe who deal with issues of eminent domain and property rights,” said Burling. “The tremendous power of government to take private property can be employed for both good and evil by governments everywhere. I believe that we must strengthen private property as a bulwark of freedom, and limit the power of government to take, especially when the purpose of the taking is to enrich the powerful at the expense of the powerless.”

In addition to Burling, the eminent domain panel will include Professors James W. Ely Jr. of Vanderbilt University Law School; Alexandra Klass of the University of Minnesota Law School; and Ilya Somin of George Mason University School of Law.

Jim Burling’s leadership in the property law bar
Jim Burling is Pacific Legal Foundation’s Director of Litigation and principal attorney in PLF’s Property Rights practice group. As a litigator with PLF since 1983, his specialties involve regulatory takings, environmental and land use regulations, eminent domain, and Indian law.

At the U.S. Supreme Court, he successfully argued the landmark property rights case, Palazzolo v. Rhode Island (2001), which established that government is not freed from liability for imposing a taking on private property merely because the property might be sold to a new owner.

Burling is a frequent lecturer at continuing legal education courses on topics such as the regulation of wetlands, eminent domain, and constitutional property rights. Mr. Burling is also Chairman Emeritus of the Federalist Society’s Environmental Law and Property Rights Practice Group and a member of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers.

A graduate of the University of Arizona College of Law, he received his undergraduate degree from Hamilton College in New York majoring in Geology and English, and a Master’s of Science from Brown University in Geological Sciences.

About Pacific Legal Foundation
Donor-supported Pacific Legal Foundation ( is the nation’s leading legal watchdog organization that litigates for limited government, property rights, free enterprise, and a balanced approach to environmental regulations, in courts nationwide.

James S. Burling
Director of Litigation
Pacific Legal Foundation

(916) 419-7111

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