Share this
PREVIOUS ARTICLE ALL CONTENTS Next ARTICLE

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

Reviewed by James J. Kelly, Jr.

BUY

 

In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court by a 5–4 vote allowed the New London Development Corporation to take Susette Kelo’s little pink house, along with those of her neighbors who took part in the constitutional challenge that bore her name. Legal scholars were unsurprised by the decision, but ordinary Americans across the political spectrum were outraged by the endorsement of local government’s power to seize their homes.

A decade later, Ilya Somin presents a comprehensive, well-organized case for the strict federal constitutional constraints on state and local use of eminent domain that the Kelo majority declined to impose. More particularly, Somin argues that, properly understood, the Fifth Amendment’s public use clause, as applied to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment, prohibits them from seizing privately owned property for transfer to other private entities in the name of economic development. He seeks to sway his readers by educating them: first about the circumstances of the Kelo litigation, then about the history of public use clause jurisprudence, and finally about the aftermath of the Kelo decision.

Somin begins with a fairly balanced view of the parties involved in the development plan dispute that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. This evenhanded tone eases the open-minded re

To continue reading, see options above.

About PSQ's Editor

ROBERT Y. SHAPIRO

Full Access

Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.

CONFERENCES & EVENTS

WEBINAR
JOBS: The Future of Jobs in America

May 20, 2021

MORE ABOUT THIS EVENT VIEW ALL EVENTS

Editor’s spotlight

Revisiting the New Deal

What the New Deal Did
David M. Kennedy

Franklin D. Roosevelt and The Transcendence of Partisan Politics
Sidney M. Milkis

MORE ABOUT THIS TOPIC

Search the Archives

Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilson

view additional issues

Most read

Articles | Book reviews

Understanding the Bush Doctrine
Robert Jervis

The Study of Administration
Woodrow Wilson

Notes on Roosevelt's "Quarantine" Speech
Dorothy Borg

view all

New APS Book

Presidential Selection and Democracy   PRESIDENTIAL SELECTION AND DEMOCRACY

About US

Academy of Political Science

The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.

Political Science Quarterly

With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.

Stay Connected

newsstand locator
About APS