Eminent Domain

Justice Scalia's Property Rights Jurisprudence - Event Audio/Video

2016 National Lawyers Convention
John D. Echeverria, James W. Ely, Roderick M. Hills, Adam Laxalt, Ilya Somin, Allison Eid, Jeffrey Bossert Clark November 24, 2016

In his nearly 30 years on the Court, Justice Scalia left a profound mark on many areas of the law, including property rights. From his seminal decisions in Nollan v. California Coastal Commission and Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council to his frequent questioning at oral argument, Justice Scalia helped define the relationship between property and the Constitution. While his critics have suggested that Justice Scalia's property rights jurisprudence manifested a willingness to engage in “judicial activism," others have defended Scalia's approach as consistent with original understandings of the text of the Constitution.

This panel will address Justice Scalia's influence on constitutional understandings of property rights. Professor Ely has written extensively on the historical understandings of property rights including the popular book, The Guardian of Every Other Right: A Constitutional History of Property Rights. Professor Somin's recently published The Grasping Hand: "Kelo V. City of New London" and the Limits of Eminent Domain explores one of the Court's most notorious departures from the protection of property rights. Professor Hills is a renowned expert on the law of land use planning and has taken a more charitable view of the power of government to control the use of property. He is a co-author of Land Use Controls: Cases and Materials. The panel will be moderated by Justice Allison Eid, from the Colorado Supreme Court.

Environmental Law & Property Rights: Justice Scalia's Property Rights Jurisprudence
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
East Room

  • Prof. John Echeverria, Professor of Law, Vermont Law School
  • Prof. James W. Ely, Jr., Milton R. Underwood Professor of Law Emeritus, Professor of History Emeritus, Lecturer in Law, Vanderbilt Law School
  • Prof. Roderick M. Hills, Jr., William T. Comfort, III Professor of Law, New York University School of Law
  • Hon. Adam P. Laxalt, Attorney General, Nevada
  • Prof. Ilya Somin, Professor of Law, Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University
  • Moderator: Hon. Allison H. Eid, Colorado Supreme Court
  • Introduction: Mr. Jeffrey Bossert Clark, Partner, Kirkland & Ellis LLP

The Mayflower Hotel
Washington, DC

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

Environmental Law & Property Rights Practice Group Podcast
Richard A. Epstein, Ilya Somin June 05, 2015

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 joined 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

Unresolved Takings Questions Following the October 2012 Supreme Court Term - Podcast

Environmental Law & Property Rights Practice Group Podcast
James S. Burling, Steven J. Eagle, Thomas W. Merrill, Dean A. Reuter September 18, 2013

Supreme Court frontThe United States Supreme Court issued three notable takings decisions during the October 2012 term in Koontz v. St. Johns Water Management DistrictArkansas Game & Fish Commission v. United States, and Horne v. Department of Agriculture. Our experts will discuss these opinions and the questions that they leave unresolved ahead of the 2013 term.


  • James S. Burling, Director of Litigation, Pacific Legal Foundation
  • Prof. Steven J. Eagle, Professor of Law, George Mason University School of Law
  • Prof. Thomas W. Merrill, Charles Evans Hughes Professor of Law, Columbia Law School
  • Moderator: Dean Reuter, Vice President and Director of Practice Groups, The Federalist Society

[Listen now!]

Does the Takings Clause Have an Expiration Date?

Engage Volume 13, Issue 1, March 2012
Michael James Barton, Brandon Simmons April 24, 2012

Does the Takings Clause Have an Expiration Date?In the last Term, the United States Supreme Court declined to review two property rights cases: Guggenheim v. City of Goleta, from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and CRV Enterprises v. United States, from the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Some observers expected the Court to grant the petitions for certiorari for these cases because both appellate decisions appeared to depart from the Court’s opinion in Palazzolo v. Rhode Island, which held that a claim brought under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment could not be dismissed for lack of standing merely because the property owner had purchased the property after it became subject to the regulation effecting the alleged taking. Observers may have had additional hope that the Court would grant certiorari in Guggenheim and CRV Enterprises because of the circuits that decided the two cases: the Federal Circuit and Ninth Circuit have been described as having the worst and second-worst reversal rates, respectively, among the federal courts of appeal. Instead, the Court denied both petitions for certiorari, thus leaving unanswered the question: does the Takings Clause have an expiration date? [Read more!]

Key Findings: Statewide Survey of 600 Registered Voters in California

State Courts Survey
Kellyanne Conway October 13, 2010
On behalf of The Federalist Society, the polling companyTM, inc./WomanTrend conducted a survey of 600 registered voters in California.  The survey queried voters as to their knowledge and opinions of the California Supreme Court and its decisions and rulings, as well as of the different forms of jurisprudence.  Additionally, respondents were asked about their views toward immigration, marriage, eminent domain, affirmative action, and Senate judicial confirmations.