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Censoring Specialty License Plates

Free Speech & Election Law Practice Group Teleforum Wednesday, June 03, 12:00 PMFederalist Society Teleforum Conference Call

Many states make money by letting a wide range of groups order specialty license plates for their members. The specialty plates tend to convey a message or an affiliation. May a state reject a proposed plate because it deals with “politically sensitive and emotionally charged issues”? More specifically, may a state forbid a “Choose Life” specialty plate, but allow a “Union Yes” plate and one that says “Support Police”? The Second Circuit just upheld such a policy, by a 2-to-1 vote. Is the decision consistent with the First Amendment?

  • Prof. Eugene Volokh, Gary T. Schwartz Professor of Law, UCLA School of 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

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