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The Grasping Hand'Kelo v. City of New London' and the Limits of Eminent Domain$
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Ilya Somin

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226422169

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226456829.001.0001

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(p.232) Conclusion
The Grasping Hand

Ilya Somin

University of Chicago Press

The Conclusion summarizes events in New London since the Court’s decision, recapitulates some key lessons of the book, and discusses the future of public use. Nine years after the Kelo decision, the condemned property still lies empty. But the controversy sparked by the Kelo takings has led to real progress for property rights. In addition to stimulating effective reforms in some states, it has undermined the seeming consensus in favor of a very broad definition of public use. The controversial and the closely divided nature of the decision also make it more likely that Kelo will ultimately be overruled or limited by the Court, a result that would be consistent with the Court’s current doctrine on how to determine whether a precedent should be reversed. Like previous reform efforts, the Kelo story demonstrates that efforts to strengthen protection for constitutional rights are most likely to succeed if they combine legal and political action rather than focus on one approach exclusively.

Keywords:   constitutional reform, public use, precedent, New London, judicial politics, Antonin Scalia, John Paul Stevens

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