Widener Law event examines the U.S. Constitution, the judiciary and private property Can judges “take” property?
Public Relations - Published: February 16, 2012
JudicialTakings2012 NewsPromoThe Constitution’s limits on judicial decisions that change property rights will be the focus of a daylong conference Friday, Feb. 17 on the Harrisburg campus of Widener Law.

The event will feature four panel discussions by academics from across the United States who excel in the area of property law known as “takings.”

The conference, titled “Judicial Takings,” will be held in room A180 of the school’s administration building at 3800 Vartan Way, Harrisburg. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and the first panel starts at 9 a.m. The day will conclude at 3:45 p.m.

Widener Law Associate Professor D. Benjamin Barros is organizing the event. Barros, who also serves as associate dean of faculty research and development, is an expert in property law. He has been widely quoted on matters of national interest, including the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Stop the Beach Renourishment v. Florida DEP, which involved public access to otherwise private waterfront beaches after publicly funded beach renourishment projects.

That case will be a backdrop to much of the day’s discussion, which will ponder the question of whether it is possible that an action by a state’s judiciary – rather than the executive or legislative branches – could amount to an unconstitutional taking of private property.

“It is not unusual for courts to declare that legislative and executive acts violate the Fifth Amendment’s Just Compensation Clause,” Barros said. “At this conference we are going to explore whether it is possible for courts to violate the Just Compensation Clause. The Supreme Court recently considered this issue in the Stop the Beach case, but didn’t resolve any of the important issues. So we will have a lot to talk about.”

Attorneys from Pennsylvania and Delaware who attend the conference will be eligible for 5.5 substantive continuing legal education credits. The cost to attend for credit is $95 or $75 for Widener Law alumni and includes materials, continental breakfast and a luncheon. To register contact Sandy Graeff at 717.541.3965 or slgraeff@widener.edu.