The Federalist Society recently posted a video they made about the controversial Supreme Court ruling Kelo v. Kelo City of New London (2005). inside basement A narrow 5-4 majority ruled that private “economic development” qualifies as a “public use,” allowing the government, under the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause, to use eminent domain to seize private property and transfer it to a new private owner. gives In the video, I briefly describe the background of the case, the majority’s rationale for its decision, and why that reasoning was seriously flawed from the perspective of both originality and substantive constitutionality. I also summarize the wider judicial and political backlash against the court’s ruling.
I go into these topics in more detail in my book Clasping hands: Kelo v. Kelo City of New London and limits of eminent domain. The debate is over Underground storage And public use continues to this day. Several Supreme Court justices have expressed interest in reconsidering the case and possibly overturning it.
In his 2019 memoir, the late Justice John Paul Stevens expanded on his earlier admission that his majority opinion included a serious misreading of precedent (though he continued to believe the court got the bottom line result right). There are not many prominent Supreme Court decisions in which the author of the majority opinion later admitted that it was based in part on an “embarrassing to admit” error.
I hope the video serves as a useful introduction Underground storage and the still ongoing debate over eminent domain and public use.