Lynch v. Household Finance

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in Lynch v. Household Finance Corp., 405 U.S. 538, 552 (1972), Justice Potter Stewart wrote the decision for the 6-3 U.S. Supreme Court and made one of the clearest statements for a fundamental right in property by the courts:

[T]he dichotomy between personal liberties and property rights is a false one. Property does not have rights. People have rights. The right to enjoy property without unlawful deprivation, no less than the right to speak or the right to travel, is in truth a "personal" right, whether the "property" in question be a welfare check, a home, or a savings account. In fact, a fundamental interdependence exists between the personal right to liberty and the personal right in property. Neither could have meaning without the other. That rights in property are basic civil rights has long been recognized. J. Locke, Of Civil Government 82-85 (1924); J. Adams, A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, in F. Coker, Democracy, Liberty, and Property 121-132 (1942); 1 W. Blackstone, Commentaries *138-140. Congress recognized these rights in 1871 when it enacted the predecessor of §§ 1983 and 1343 (3). We do no more than reaffirm the judgment of Congress today.

Lynch v. Household Fin. Corp., 405 U.S. 538, 552 (1972).