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Building Coalitions out of Thin Air: Transferable Development Rights and “Constituency Effects” in Land Use LawTransferable Development Rights (TDRs) were supposed to be a solution to the intractable problems of land use, a bit of institutional design magic that married the interests of development and preservation at no cost to taxpayers and with no legal risk. Under aTDR program, development is limited or barred on properties targeted for preservation or other regulatory goals, but owners of those lots are allowed to sell their unused development rights to other property owners. In theory, this allows the same amount of development to occur while preserving favored uses without tax subsidies or constitutional challenges. Reviewing their use over the past fifty years, this Article shows that the traditional justifications for TDRs do not work. In practice, TDRs are not necessary to avoid takings litigation, are not costless to taxpayers, and do not balance the interests of preservation and development. Instead, they serve as yet another growth control in metropolitan areas where such controls have caused housing crises and major harms to the national economy. Assessed as a technocratic tool for solving problems in land use, TDRs are a failure. But this Article shows that there is a case for TDRs not as a technocratic but rather as a political tool. By giving valuable development rights to some popular or otherwise politically influential owners of regulated property, a city can build a coalition for re-zonings that might otherwise be politically impossible. The effect of TDRs on politics can be positive to the extent that TDRs strengthen constituencies or land use goals that local politics systematically undercounts, as we show through an analysis of New York City’s Special District Transfer TDR program. In particular, TDRs could help break Not InMyBack Yard opposition to new housing by building a competing pro-growth coalition. More generally, using TDRs as an example, the Article shows how land use law is the creator as well as creature of local politics. Existing property law helps cement antidevelopment coalitions, but savvy leaders could use moments in power to create stable pro-growth coalitions by enacting new laws that help mobilize new pro-growth constituencies. Understanding these “constituency effects” of land use law allows policymakers to redesign entitlements like TDRs to produce a healthier land use policies.
The University in the Mirror of JusticesIn its 1915 Declaration of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) set forth a limited analogy between the professoriate and the judiciary. The purpose of this article is to explore this analogy’s genesis, basis, implications, and limits. Its claim is that the judicial analogy deserves renewed attention and consideration in the contemporary debate over the future of academic freedom.
Removal of Context: Blackstone, Limited Monarchy, and the Limits of Unitary OriginalismThe Supreme Court's recent decisions that the President has an unconditional or indefeasible removal power rely on textual and historical assumptions and a “removal of context.” This article focuses on the “executive power” part of the Vesting Clause and particularly the unitary theorists' misuse of Blackstone. Unitary executive theorists overlook the problems of relying on England’s limited monarchy: the era’s rise of Parliamentary supremacy over the Crown and its power to eliminate or regulate (i.e., make defeasible) royal prerogatives. Unitary theorists provide no evidence that executive removal was ever identified as a “royal prerogative" or a default royal power. The structure of their historical comparison is flawed: the Constitution explicitly limits many royal powers, such war, peace (treaties), and the veto, so that the President is weaker than the king, but they still infer from Article II other unnamed “executive powers” (like removal) that would make a President stronger than a king.
Resisting Renoviction and Displacement Through Cultural Land Trusts: Art and Performance Spaces, Pop-Ups, DIYs, and Protest Raves in VancouverThis Article draws on ethnographic fieldwork to explore the use of cultural land trusts as local urban resistance to the displacement of arts and culture spaces in Vancouver. Cultural land trusts shift power back to relationally marginalized and displaced communities whose voices frequently fail to figure equitably within decision-making processes affecting their urban landscape. Cultural land trusts draw on the community land trust and community ownership structure with the goal of preserving affordable access to land and space for arts and culture in the city. As previously marginalized portions of the city space are “retaken” by a city, areas that have provided affordable performance, rehearsal, and live/work spaces for the arts sector are becoming less available. Their absence threatens the economic and cultural potential of art and the physical dimensions necessary for the sustainability of urban art and culture.
Legal Principles, Law, and TraditionLegal reasoning and legal discourse take place within historical traditions that develop over time. Law is characterized by the authoritative presence of those historical traditions. This observation vindicates the basic positivist insight that law is ultimately grounded in social facts. These social facts include the history of the legal tradition, the work and shared understanding of legal scholars, and the moral reasoning of legal participants—all of which have been mistakenly left aside by many legal positivists and their usual focus on coercive institutions. I use the Hart-Dworkin debate as a starting point for reclaiming the notion of law as a historically grounded practice. The Hart-Dworkin debate highlights that philosophical reflection about law becomes impoverished without history. A closer look at history shows that both Dworkin and Hart were partially right. As Dworkin argued, law is not only a matter of purely source-based legal rules, but also incorporates principles with weight and a less straightforward connection to social facts. However, the ubiquity of legal principles and their operation show that a socially grounded conception of law, as the one defended by le al positivism, is entirely consistent with the existence of legal principles.