Copyright (c) 1996 Board of Regents, for Northern Illinois University
Northern Illinois University Law Review
Comment: From the Ground to the Sky: The Continuing Conflict Between Private Property Rights and Free Speech Rights on the Shopping Center Front Seventeen Years After Pruneyard
16 N. Ill. U. L. Rev. 717
Ian J. McPheron
Ab orco usque ad coelum 1 was a basic tenet of property law for centuries. Although this notion has long been defunct, 2 it still serves as a metaphor for how far property rights extend affecting not only the ground but the sky as well. 3 Property rights obviously affect the ground because that is an aspect of what one can own. 4 In addition, property affects the sky, or at least our universe of rights and economic paradigms. 5
Property rights are at the foundation of our society. "No one can doubt, that the convention for the distinction of property and of the stability of possession, is of all circumstances the most necessary to the establishment of human society . . . ." 6 During the creation of American government and society, the Founders were heavily influenced by the works of John Locke who saw property rights existing under natural law before the creation of any political authority. 7 In fact, Locke fused the concept of property rights with liberty. 8 Though Locke's view of property has been modified
throughout the years, it still serves as one of the cornerstones of our society. 9
Property rights also touch our society's economic paradigm and thus serves as an economic cornerstone. The United States accepted the European notion that land was the principle source of wealth and status by the adoption of English common law. 10 In fact, the "acquisition and cultivation of land was the raison d'etre for the ...
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