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date: 30 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the U.S. Constitution’s textual basis for judicial engagement with basic questions of ownership, along with property as a feature of the Supreme Court’s engagement with political economy. It first considers conventionalism and essentialism in federal constitutional property jurisprudence before turning to a discussion of the laissez-faire constitutional doctrine of the so-called Lochner-era. It then addresses “regulatory takings” claims, constitutional impediments to redistribution, and the role of normative visions of property use in federalism doctrine, as well as the federal government’s power to govern federal lands. Throughout, the chapter focuses on the interaction between legal doctrine and the larger politics of American economic order, with particular attention to the transition from the welfare state of the twentieth century to conclude with an assessment of the jurisprudence of neoliberal political economy.

Keywords: Constitution, ownership, property, Supreme Court, political economy, jurisprudence, laissez-faire, free contract doctrine, regulatory takings, federalism

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