KELO V. NEW LONDON AND THE STATE LEGISLATIVE REACTION: EVALUATING THE EFFICACY AND NECESSITY OF RESTRICTING EMINENT DOMAIN FOR ECONOMIC REDEVELOPMENT AT THE STATE LEVEL

Author: 

Ryan Frampton

When the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its Kelo v. City of New London decision in June 2005, it sparked a firestorm of controversy. The opinion was decried as the downfall of our private property scheme, with its loudest critics noting that the opinion could be read broadly enough to support an interpretation that allowed a state entity to exercise eminent domain any time it sought to improve tax revenue. Disregarding whether this is the case necessarily stands for such a broad proposition, the legislative reaction was swift and wide ranging. Within five weeks of the publication of the opinion, at least 28 states had legislation pending, frequently including proposed state constitutional amendments, to limit the impact of Kelo. Eminent domain procedures are necessarily complex, seeking to limit the harm to individual property owners while procuring increased social utility for the community. Consequently, amendments to these broad state law schemes should be carefully considered to avoid unintended consequences and insure that the protections purportedly afforded by the legislation are actually achieved. View More