This chapter briefly describes the Kelo v. New Londoncase and situates it in the context of the longstanding debate over the appropriate scope of judicial protection for constitutional property rights. It explains that Americans have long believed that property rights are vitally important. But in the decades preceding Kelo, the judiciary often treated them as second-class rights deserving far less protection than other parts of the Bill of Rights. The Kelocase is a vehicle for examining the narrower, but still vital issue, of what kinds of takings are forbidden by the federal Constitution because they are not for a “public use.” The Introduction concludes with a brief description of each of the chapters.
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