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By Timothy and Christina Sandefur
Nearly a decade ago, the United States Supreme Court delivered one of the most controversial decisions in its history, Kelo v. City of New London, upholding a decision by state officials to seize private homes through eminent domain to make way for a massive redevelopment project to benefit powerful private developers. The ruling triggered outrage across the political spectrum. In response, Americans sought to safeguard their property rights through reforms at the state level. While some of these endeavors were successful, most were hampered by loopholes or ineffective tinkering with procedural details, thus leaving property rights as vulnerable as ever.
Arizona was different. In 2006, that state’s voters overwhelmingly approved the Private Property Rights Protection Act, one of the strongest protections for property rights in the nation. The Act is an excellent model for states that want to provide meaningful security for one of the most essential human rights: the right to ownership.