The Grasping Hand: Kelo v. City of New London & The Limits of Eminent Domain

Posted by ewv 8 years, 8 months ago to Politics
14 comments | Share | Flag

Heritage Foundation presentation live video on eminent domain. question period still on at 12:55P 11/03/15.

Add Comment


All Comments Hide marked as read Mark all as read

  • Posted by 8 years, 8 months ago
    The live video with Ily Somin's presentation on the Kelo eminent domain travesty ended at 1:04 PM, but may become available online at

    Somin, professor at George Mason University School of Law, has recently published a book by the same title, The Grasping Hand: "Kelo v. City of New London" and the Limits of Eminent Domain I don't have the book but from what I have read about it, it focuses on the detailed legal aspects of the controversy over 'public use' versus private development in the name of the 'public good'. I have not seen anything on whether or not he defends property rights against eminent domain in principle.

    This is the Heritage Foundation description of Somin's talk:

    "In 2005, the Supreme Court ruled that the city of New London, Connecticut, could condemn fifteen residential properties in order to transfer them to a new private owner. Although the Fifth Amendment only permits the taking of private property for "public use," the Court ruled that the transfer of condemned land to private parties for "economic development" is permitted by the Constitution – even if the government cannot prove that the expected development will ever actually happen. The Court's decision in Kelo v. City of New London empowered the grasping hand of the state at the expense of the invisible hand of the market.

    "Ilya Somin argues that Kelo was a grave error. Economic development and "blight" condemnations are unconstitutional under both originalist and most "living constitution" theories of legal interpretation. They also victimize the poor and the politically weak for the benefit of powerful interest groups, and often destroy more economic value than they create. Forty-five states passed new laws intended to limit the use of eminent domain in the wake of the Supreme Court’s unpopular ruling. But, as Professor Somin explains, many of the new laws impose few or no genuine constraints on takings.

    "The closely divided 5-4 ruling shattered what many believed to be a consensus that virtually any condemnation qualifies as a public use under the Fifth Amendment. It also showed that there is widespread public opposition to eminent domain abuse. The Grasping Hand offers the first book-length analysis by a legal scholar of this controversy, alongside a broader history of the dispute over public use and eminent domain, and an evaluation of reform options."
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by cranedragon 8 years, 8 months ago
      And Trump has never seen an eminent domain attempt that he didn't like. Of course, as a real estate developer, he wants to see eminent domain broadly available for crony capitalists [like him, of course] so that he will be unfettered in removing whole swathes of uncooperative land owners to make way for the next grandiose development. Until it goes into bankruptcy, that is. I like a comment that I've seen on this site -- what is the fair market value of a property that isn't for sale?
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by dbhalling 8 years, 8 months ago
    His argument is a perfect Hayek cultural evolution argument. Principles and logic are at best persuasive and you have to throw the whole kitchen sink at the problem and then argue consensus.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by LibertyBelle 8 years, 8 months ago
    Eminent Domain should not exist in the United
    States of America. Private property should not be
    taken without the consent of the owner, whether for
    public or private use. We need to pass a Consti-
    tutional amendment abolishing it altogether. As to "just compensation", if there are cases where
    the owner worked it up and wants to leave it to
    his children, that property and no other, then no
    compensation in that case could be just.
    Maybe there should be provisions for right of
    way across someone's land so that three or four
    landowners cannot get together and pen some-
    one up--that would be a case of false imprison-
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by $ jdg 8 years, 8 months ago
      The law handles that case now by requiring that all private property either be adjacent to a public street, or have an easement allowing access to and from one.

      I mostly agree about private property. But I agree with the use of eminent domain to put a road, railroad, or utility line through if done with the minimum disruption to the existing property.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Posted by Flootus5 8 years, 8 months ago
        The inverse of this is in having private property surrounded by "federally owned" public land. An inholder. And then the feds close off all access across public land in the name of a toad or something.
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • Posted by $ blarman 8 years, 8 months ago
          That sounds like a current case of a mining claim down in Nevada. The government is attempting to force them out in precisely this same way - they've bought up all the surrounding land as part of an air force base and cut off the easement (because of security reasons) that permits the mine owners to get to and from their property.
          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by wiggys 8 years, 8 months ago
    a tragic action imposed on the people who lost their property.
    the court should that approved this action should have its members hung by their thumbs.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  


  • Comment hidden. Undo