Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Grasping Hand"Kelo v. City of New London" and the Limits of Eminent Domain$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Ilya Somin

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226256603

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226256740.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 23 September 2021

The Kelo Decision

The Kelo Decision

(p.112) Chapter Four The Kelo Decision
The Grasping Hand

Ilya Somin

University of Chicago Press

This chapter assesses the Supreme Court’s opinion in the Kelo case. The majority opinion, written Justice John Paul Stevens, has numerous flaws. These include excessive deference to a flawed political process and severe misinterpretation of relevant precedents (a mistake later admitted by Justice Stevens himself). Most of all, it allows the government to define the scope of a constitutional right intended to constrain that government’s own abuses of power. No other right enumerated in the Bill of Rights gets such treatment. Justice Anthony Kennedy’s concurring opinion also has significant weaknesses. The dissenting opinions by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and Clarence Thomas make a number of strong points, but also have shortcomings of their own. O’Connor’s dissent has difficulty reconciling her position in Kelo with her own earlier opinion for the Court in the 1984 Midkiff case. Despite, their weaknesses, however, the Kelo opinions did shatter the previous seeming consensus in favor of a broad definition of public use.

Keywords:   John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O’Connor, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Kelo, supreme court, public use, judicial deference

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.