Question on Property Rights and the Constitution



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American Regime Values





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American Regime Values

  1. Introduction

American regime values hold a special place among the essential public standards. They play a vital part in discussions on constitutional methods aimed at improving public administration. They include equality, personal freedoms, the rights to one’s property, and due process. The paper aims to profile the significant actions of a specific federal agency over the past decade and explain how these actions incorporate at least two American regime values. For this purpose, the paper selects recent actions by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). In recent times, HUD has released a statement clarifying its stance on the Fair Housing Act. HUD manages programs that offer housing and community development support. The federal agency also functions to ensure fair and equal housing prospects for all Americans. HUD is a cabinet-level federal agency, meaning it reports its activities directly to the White House. The department was established in 1965 following the enactment of the Housing and Urban Development Act in the same year. Some of the key highlights in the history of HUD include enacting the Fair Housing Act of 1968 and the Indian Housing Act of 1988, which safeguarded Native American rights to homeownership. HUD’s mission is to ensure it strengthens and promotes sustainable and inclusive communal and top-quality homes for each American citizen.

  1. American Regime Values

American regime values are standards deeply entrenched in the Constitution, which offer each American citizen the opportunity to live a fulfilling life. When it comes to HUD’s recent actions, the relevant American regime value the paper focuses on are the right to one’s property and personal freedoms.

  • The Right to One’s Property

The right to own one’s property is considered a fundamental human right for citizens relating to their properties. Accordingly, it is a right that is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, the right to own one’s property is a multidimensional human right, and its existence and interpretation might differ across different jurisdictions. The main issues that arise in determining the right to own one’s property include the entities considered owners of the property, i.e., organizations or individuals, and the form of property protected by the laws. However, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes that each citizen has the right to own property either individually or alongside others (UN n.d.). As such, it states that individuals should never be arbitrarily denied their properties. In many interpretations of the right, entities recognize that it covers property currently owned or property to be acquired through legally binding means. The proponents of this regime value also support private property ownership and justify their support through claims such as the planet’s natural resources or the theoretical framework of justice. In America, the right to own one’s property has undergone various critical stages historically. It is mainly guided by Western ideas of property rights, for example, the protection of private property and fair compensation.

America’s founding fathers comprehended that private property ownership was a fundamental element of prosperity and freedom of Americans. Accordingly, via the common laws, state laws, and ultimately, the Constitution, they safeguarded property rights. The rights allowed private citizens to acquire, utilize, and discard property without restriction. However, as time went by and the government grew, issues such as seriously compromising the rights started emerging. The issues have become more complicated, with the Supreme Court failing to provide a principled and comprehensive method for alleviating these issues. The problems have had implications, such as the growth of the property rights movement in many jurisdictions across the nation. It led to federal agencies such as Congress attempt to correct the issues related to the right to own one’s property. Some of the standards have helped enhance people’s rights and offer some approaches that might help lessen complaints about possible violations. The American Revolution was tied to the right of owning one’s property. For example, founding fathers Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin advocated for civil and political rights. One of the rationales for their advocacy was votes by people who had stakes in society. The stakes in the context included personal properties; hence they initiated the debate on owning one’s property (Jacobs 2013).

In the 1948 American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, the United States ensured that people were given the right to own private possessions that conformed to the essential requirement of dignified living and aids to sustain the decency of the persons and the property. In the late 1980s, the U.S proposed additional international safeguards to people’s right to own property, justifying the suggestion using the UN-recognized right to development. The Supreme Court has also played a central role in various aspects of interpretation of the right. For example, it has been involved in ruling regarding things such as uncompensated regulatory takings. Still, the right requires more clarification since some rulings have mainly been ad hoc, and many owners have incurred losses. There are advances in the interpretation of the law; for instance, owners have rights and can get compensation in instances such as physical invasion of property by entities such as the government when regulations devalue properties and permit issues, including when government ascribes conditions that are disproportionate to permit requirements (Pilon 2017). Property owners have, however, sought stronger laws and protections. In reactions to property ownership issues, the federal government and state government have enacted laws, for example, the Fair Housing Act, to help property owners get the necessary protections.

The right to own one’s property is a core part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD offers housing and community development help and strives to guarantee each citizen access to “just and equal” housing. The department is involved in a variety of programs aimed to achieve its objectives. These activities support homeownership, enhancement of safety and affordability of rental houses, minimization of homeless families and individuals, and addressing housing discrimination. HUD is central to property owners since it assists people planning to own or individuals who already own homes. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is a subsidiary of HUD, and its mandate is to help homeowners through its mortgage program. (Fontinelle 2019) The department also helps enforce laws that Congress has passed to enhance ownership of homes. For instance, HUD enforces the Fair Housing Act. The Act is a vital part of ensuring that each American has the right to own a home. In its provisions, HUD has a role in ensuring that each American has equal access to homeownership, banning discrimination based on things such as skin color, disabilities, and sex.

2.2 Personal Freedoms

Personal freedom is extensively contributed to a societal desideratum. It is a concept that played a fundamental part in various liberal ideologies, for example, the practical approach, and was also found in the contract-theory forms by Rawls and Buchanan. When people talk of human rights, one concept that comes to mind is personal freedoms. Many theories of human rights indicate that people have the free will to live the way they want and make free choices. Philosophers have also argued that human development encompasses socio-economic growth and robust personal freedoms safeguarded by systems and institutions. Personal freedoms are associated with increased levels of happiness and fulfilment among people. Even when people did not become happy or attain fulfilling lives, personal freedoms are considered desired values in society based on arguments such as non-consequentialist moral theories. Also, personal freedoms have often been associated with democratic societies. It is obscure to what degree democracy and personal freedoms relate to each other and how they apply when considering concepts such as judicial independence. Democracy at its core argues that the majority should determine policies and values in society. Still, the minority might have their say, and some of their views might be personal freedoms. In this context, the majority determination of values and policies might restrict personal freedoms (Berggren and Gutmann 2020).

Personal freedoms have been curtailed by a majority in instances such as societies where majorities reject the personal freedom of sexual identity. Some sexual identities, orientations, etc., become restricted in such societies, and people in the minority have little freedom to express themselves fully.  Another example is denying people religious freedom. It is important to note that there are various ambiguities in constitutional safeguards of personal and sometimes they are open to interpretation. It gives various entities, for example, the political class, a specific scope of discretion to limit personal freedoms through processes such as when making legislation or political debates (Gouda and Gutmann 2020). It also varies depending on a jurisdiction’s legal culture, and hence people still struggle to have their freedoms. The existence of discretion has implications since it means that the political and judicial actors have vital roles to ensure the safeguarding of personal freedom. To this end, the key players’ actions can be analyzed to determine whether they enhance or limit personal freedoms. The issue becomes more complicated when policies adopted by the majority do not require or allow personal freedoms. People remain sovereign in democracies and hence require their freedoms.

There are laws that the majority of people in democracies allow establishing public restrictions. Still, the idea that people remain sovereign bodies is essential in safeguarding against abuses of individual freedoms or the rise of oppressive power. Without understanding people as sovereign, then denying them personal freedoms becomes easier. Individuals will have to comply without expressing their freedoms. Neoliberals believe that any policies with a corresponding series of public and subjective positive and negative limitations on liberty weaken personal freedom. It primarily applies where there exist personal limitations on liberty. However, some critics feel that rebuffing public limitations on liberty does not promote personal freedom. The idea of having citizens obey while those in power command also potentially threatens individual freedoms. Accordingly, many people take severe courses of action that might limit individual freedoms. While personal freedoms help people live fulfilling lives, sometimes, federal agencies clarify how individual freedoms apply. The idea is to ensure people have liberties, but society does not descend into one dominated by stateless or lawless persons (Queiroz 2018).

Personal freedom is another core American regime value that guides the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD aims to ensure that people have the right to ownership of homes, and the right is not limited due to personal freedoms. HUD protects various population demographics, for example, minority groups, Native Americans, religious affiliations, and choices of sexuality. Americans have the right to own property, and HUD ensures that their homeownership is not restricted due to their liberties. While many American families are likely to own homes, some groups have fewer opportunities and face obstacles in their attempts to own homes. HUD ensures eliminating illegal and unfair practices that limit personal freedoms during homeownership or renting of a house. Importantly, HUD tries to implement policies that support community development. Communities function in the context of laws enacted by federal agencies such as the HUD (NAP 2017). It implies that HUD actions and policies have the more extraordinary ability to ensure equal and fair practices in homeownership and renting and in urban development without restricting personal freedoms. There are various personal freedoms, such as the freedom to choose one’s sexual orientation – a right related to HUD’s recent significant action.

  1. Discussion

The recent action by HUD was to issue a memorandum that clarified the Bostock decision aligned with the Fair Housing Act. It is part of the Biden Administration’s efforts to ensure that they provided equal rights to LGBTQ communities. In the memorandum, the agency stated that it understood the Fair Housing Act (FHA) to forbid discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. All its subsidiaries were required to enforce the Act with this in mind. People have personal freedoms of choosing their sexuality and cannot be discriminated against in various processes such as renting, home access, and getting homeowners insurance. It is a significant action since it protects the LGBTQ community from various negative implications such as harassment, coercion, and retaliation while attempting to express their right to own property. It is also an action that has implications in the more significant objective of rectifying the U.S. history of discriminating against people when it comes to homeownership. It was essential that people feel that HUD was committed to nondiscrimination via the formal announcement. In a democracy like the U.S., some policies might infringe on personal freedoms, which could lead to sex-segregated homes discriminating against LGBTQ communities (Medina and Santos 2021).

HUD, a critical federal agency, and other stakeholders have identified discriminatory practices as huge hurdles in LGBTQ communities attaining housing security. Also, it helps the community in its efforts to reduce homelessness and housing instability, and hence HUD promotes the right of owning property and personal freedoms. It is part of HUD’s continued improvement of public service. Public services require that agencies such as HUD work for the greater good of society. The action has reinforced the primary function of serving citizens. The fundamental uniqueness of the public service framework means that agencies need to explore novel challenges when offering their services to citizens. For example, agencies might want to address accountability in a technologically-driven age and effective performance management (Guy and Ely 2018). The agency has addressed the challenge of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. It has also dealt with accountability issues by releasing a memorandum to subsidiaries indicating that HUD is attaining its more significant objective of serving the public. These are meaningful actions and can strengthen LGBTQ personal freedoms and the right to own one’s property – two critical American regime values.

  1. Conclusion

American regime values help in better public administration and are critical in discussing constitutional means and policies implemented by federal agencies. The paper aimed to investigate recent significant actions by a federal agency and relate them to two American regime values. For this purpose, the paper investigated the recent memorandum by The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). In the memorandum, the agency reaffirmed that the Fair Housing Act provided property ownership and personal freedoms safeguards to the LGBTQ communities. The right to own one’s property is recognized as a fundamental human right and was among the core elements of the foundation of the U.S. HUD mandate is to ensure that people have fair and equal opportunities when it comes to homeownership and related processes. Personal freedom is a multifaceted topic common in democratic societies and faces challenges since democracy might allow the majority to limit certain personal freedoms. HUD’s memorandum was, therefore, a significant and timely action that has helped the LGBTQ community get assurances that the federal government was committed to American regime values of personal freedoms and the right to own one’s property.



















Berggren, N., and Gutmann, J. (2020). Securing personal freedom through institutions: the role of electoral democracy and judicial independence, European Journal of Law and Economics Volume 49, pages165–186

Fontinelle, A. (2019). What the Department of Housing and Urban Development Does, Investopedia, Retrieved on May 7, 2021, from,

Guy, M. E., and Ely, T., L. (2018). Essentials of Public Service: An Introduction to Contemporary Public Administration, Melvin & Leigh

Gouda, M., and Gutmann, J. (2020). Islamic constitutions and religious minorities. Public Choice

Jacobs, H., M. (2013). Private property and human rights: A mismatch in the 21st century? International Journal of Social Welfare, 22: 85-101, DOI: 10.1111/ijsw.12044

Medina, C., and Santos, T. (2021). A Timeline of the Biden Administration’s Efforts To Support LGBTQ Equality in the First 100 Days, Center for American Progress, Retrieved on May 7, 2021,

Pilon, R. (2017). 16. Property Rights and the Constitution, In Cato Handbook For Policymakers, 8th Edition

Queiroz, R. (2018). Individual liberty and the importance of the concept of the people, Palgrave Communications volume 4, Article number: 99

The National Academies Press (NAP) (2017).  Chapter: 6 Policies to Support Community Solutions, In the book: Communities in Action: Pathways to Health Equity

United Nations (UN). Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Retrieved on May 7, 2021, from,

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