Property rights, the first amendment, and judicial anti-urbanism: The strange case of Virginia V. Hicks

Don Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

Through a close examination of the case of Virginia v. Hicks - from Kevin Hicks's arrests for trespassing on streets near a Richmond, Virginia, public housing project in 1998 and 1999 to the unanimous Supreme Court decision upholding these arrests on the grounds that no harm was done to the First Amendment - this paper explores how the rights of private property are made, through the judicial process, to "trump" other kinds of rights and interests. It examines the implications of both dominant property practices and discourses and a more general judicial anti-urbanism for city life. The paper shows that one of the things at risk given the judiciary's love affair with private property rights is the right of some people simply to be present in public space. By implication, the paper argues that legal geographies need to examine more than just final court decisions (as is often the case), but also uncover the full legal history - the strange twists and turns - of the cases examined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)565-586
Number of pages22
JournalUrban Geography
Volume26
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2005

Keywords

  • Law
  • Private property
  • Property rights
  • Public housing
  • Urbanism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Urban Studies

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