Michael Heller on Property Law

Question: How should property law be taught?

Michael Heller: I think law school education is a lot of fun. Most students, a lot of students don’t like being lawyers once they graduate because working conditions for lawyers have gotten pretty hard, long hours, a lot of stress. But law school is a lot of fun, and I think that I wouldn’t change very much in how we teach property. When we teach property, what we really are trying to get across to students is this notion that the ownership rules that we have are fuzzy, are political, have a lot of choice built into them. There’s still a lot of stability in there, I mean, how these rules go back a thousand years, a lot of them. But how they’re interpreted, any given moment requires students and legislators and lawyers and all of us to make choices about how we want to live. So there’s one point that I really tried to get across during that first year of law school is how important the role of choice is, how important the role of individual initiative is for students, that they’re not passive actors receiving some set of, you know, the phonebook. They’re in there, in the system, making choices, pushing the boundaries one way or the other to reflect the values that they care about and that we all care about.

Michael Heller argues that the rules of ownership, though they may seem strict, have a lot of choice built into them.

Why a federal judge ordered White House to restore Jim Acosta's press badge

A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration likely violated the reporter's Fifth Amendment rights when it stripped his press credentials earlier this month.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta (R) returns to the White House with CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist after Federal judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered the White House to reinstate his press pass November 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. CNN has filed a lawsuit against the White House after Acosta's press pass was revoked after a dispute involving a news conference last week. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
  • The judge described the ruling as narrow, and didn't rule one way or the other on violations of the First Amendment.
  • The case is still open, and the administration may choose to appeal the ruling.
Keep reading Show less

Russian reporters discover 101 'tortured' whales jammed in offshore pens

Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • Russian news network discovers 101 black-market whales.
  • Orcas and belugas are seen crammed into tiny pens.
  • Marine parks continue to create a high-price demand for illegal captures.
Keep reading Show less

Water may be an inevitable result of the process that forms rocky planets

New research identifies an unexpected source for some of earth's water.

Surprising Science
  • A lot of Earth's water is asteroidal in origin, but some of it may come from dissolved solar nebula gas.
  • Our planet hides majority of its water inside: two oceans in the mantle and 4–5 in the core.
  • New reason to suspect that water is abundant throughout the universe.
Keep reading Show less