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- Ilya Somin - Professor of Law at George Mason University School of Law and an author at The Volokh Conspiracy
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.
The United States Supreme Court issued three notable takings decisions during the October 2012 term in Koontz v. St. Johns Water Management District, Arkansas 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.
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!]