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James S. Burling

Vice President of Litigation
(916) 419-7111

Practice Areas
Land Use Regulation
Regulatory Takings
Eminent Domain

Mr. Burling is Pacific Legal Foundation’s Vice President of Litigation and principal attorney in PLF’s Property Rights practice group.

Mr. Burling has been with PLF since 1983 and his cases involve regulatory takings, environmental and land use regulations, eminent domain, and Indian law. In 2001 he successfully argued a leading property rights case, Palazzolo v. Rhode Island, before the United States Supreme Court. He is a frequent lecturer at continuing legal education courses on topics such as the regulation of wetlands, eminent domain, and the "taking" of private property. Mr. Burling is also the Chairman Emeritus of the Federalist Society’s Environmental Law and Property Rights Practice Group and a member of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers.

Publications / Achievements
Mr. Burling has published numerous articles on land use regulation and regulatory takings including:  James S. Burling, Novel Takings Theories: Testing the Boundaries of Property Rights Claims, 4 Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conference Journal 39 (2015); James S. Burling, The Use and Abuse of Property Rights in Saving the Environment, 1 Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conf. Jour. 373 (2012); James Burling and Graham Owen, The Implications of Lingle on Inclusionary Zoning and Other Legislative and Monetary Exactions, 28 Stanford Environmental L. Jour. 397 (2009); Burling, The Latest Take on Background Principles and the States' Law of Property After Lucas and Palazzolo, 24 University of Hawaii Law Review 497 (2002); Burling, Can the Existence of Value in Property Avert a Regulatory Taking When Economically Beneficial Use Has Been Destroyed, in Takings Sides on Takings Issues: Public and Private Perspectives; Burling, The Theory of Property and Why it Matters, American Law Institute - American Bar Association Continuing Legal Education 2004 Course on Eminent Domain and Land Valuation Litigation, SJ051 ALI-ABA 491; and Burling, Private Property Rights and the Environment After Palazzolo, 30 Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review. 1 (2002).

Selected articles are available here on SSRN.

In 2013 Mr. Burling was awarded the Crystal Eagle Award by the Owners Counsel of America in recognition of his and PLF’s work on behalf of Property Rights. Mr. Burling is also listed in Best Lawyer magazine as an expert in eminent domain law.

Mr. Burling received his undergraduate degree from Hamilton College in New York majoring in Geology and English, and received a Masters of Science from Brown University in Geological Sciences. After working as an exploration geologist in Tucson, Mr. Burling returned to school and graduated from the University of Arizona College of Law where he served as an articles editor for the Arizona Law Review.


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