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Constitutional Law

The Grasping Hand: "Kelo v. City of New London" and the Limits of Eminent Domain

Environmental Law & Property Rights Practice Group Teleforum Thursday, June 04, 12:00 PMFederalist Society Teleforum Conference Call

On June 23, 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. In his new book, published by the University of Chicago Press, The Grasping Hand: "Kelo v. City of New London" and the Limits of Eminent Domain, Prof. Ilya Somin argues that the closely divided 5-4 ruling in Kelo was a grave error. Prof. Somin provides a detailed study of the case, as well as of the new laws intended to limit the use of eminent domain passed in forty-five states during the political backlash following the decision, alongside a broader history of the dispute over public use and eminent domain and an evaluation of options for reform.

With the 10th anniversary of the Kelo decision approaching, Prof. Somin will join a Teleforum program to discuss the book, with Prof. Richard Epstein joining to offer his comments.

  • Prof. Ilya Somin, Author, The Grasping Hand: "Kelo v. City of New London" and the Limits of Eminent Domain, and Professor of Law, George Mason University School of Law
  • Prof. Richard A. Epstein, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law, New York University School of Law

Should a royalty agreement exceed the life of a patent?

Short video featuring Greg Dolin
Gregory Dolin May 12, 2015

Professor Greg Dolin of the University of Baltimore School of Law discusses the dispute in Kimble v. Marvel, a case argued before the Supreme Court in March.  Petitioner Kimble invented and patented a toy.  Respondent Marvel contractually agreed to pay royalties on that patent that included a period of time after the expiration of the patent.  The Court is being asked to overrule a precedent dating back to 1964 which held such agreements to be unlawful per se.  

As always, the Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues; all expressions of opinion are those of the speaker.

The Constitution: An Introduction - Podcast

Federalism & Separation of Powers Practice Group Podcast
Michael S. Paulsen, Kevin Walsh May 07, 2015

In their new book, The Constitution: An Introduction, constitutional scholar Michael Stokes Paulsen and his son, Luke Paulsen, write a lively modern primer on the U.S. Constitution. Beginning with the Constitution’s birth in 1787, Paulsen and Paulsen offer a tour of its provisions, principles, and interpretation, introducing readers to the characters and controversies that have shaped the Constitution in the 200-plus years since its creation. In a review published in Engage, the Law Journal of the Federalist Society, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito praises the book’s unique format: “Professor Paulsen and his son began this collaboration when Luke was in high school and continued throughout his college years at Princeton. It is easy to imagine this process as a conversation between a father, who has been immersed in the study of the Constitution for his entire adult life, and a bright son, who brings a new perspective and challenges the father to explain and defend.” Justice Alito goes on to say that the book “invites readers to become personally engaged in the discussion of the Constitution that began in the fall of 1787 when the citizens of the states debated ratification.” In this spirit of debate, both of the authors joined University of Richmond School of Law Professor Kevin Walsh and answered audience questions on a Teleforum conference call.

  • Luke Paulsen, Co-author, The Constitution: An Introduction
  • Prof. Michael S. Paulsen, Co-author, The Constitution: An Introduction, Distinguished University Chair and Professor, University of St. Thomas School of Law
  • Prof. Kevin C. Walsh, University of Richmond School of Law

Johnson v. United States - Post-Argument SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 4-24-15 featuring Richard Myers
Richard E. Myers April 24, 2015

On April 20, 2015, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Johnson v. United States. This case concerns two questions. The first is whether mere possession of a short-barreled shotgun should be treated as a violent felony under the Armed Career Criminal Act. The second question asks whether the residual clause in the Armed Career Criminal Act, which mandates that a minimum sentence of fifteen years be imposed upon someone who unlawfully possesses a firearm and has had three prior "violent felony" convictions--with the phrase “violent felony” including any crime that “involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another”--is unconstitutionally vague.

To discuss the case, we have Richard Myers who is the Henry Brandis Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina School of Law.

Our Lost Constitution: The Willful Subversion of America's Founding Document - Podcast

Federalism & Separation of Powers Practice Group Podcast
Michael S. Lee April 22, 2015

The still-unfolding story of America’s Constitution is a history of heroes and villains—the flawed visionaries who inspired and crafted liberty’s safeguards, and the shortsighted opportunists who defied them. Those stories are known by few today.

In Our Lost Constitution, Senator Mike Lee tells the dramatic, little-known stories behind six of the Constitution’s most indispensable provisions. He shows their rise. He shows their fall. And he makes vividly clear how nearly every abuse of federal power today is rooted in neglect of this Lost Constitution. Senator Mike Lee joined a Teleforum conference call for a special discussion with Federalist Society members regarding his new book.

  • Hon. Michael S. Lee, United States Senate