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Kelo v. City of New London, 125 S. Ct. 2655 (2005), is unique in the modem annals of law in terms of the negative response it has evoked. The initial reaction by lawyers familiar with the case was one of lack of surprise. Within days, however, Internet bloggers, television commentators, and neighbors talking over backyard fences decided that Keio was an outrage. Even Justice Stevens sought to distance himself from his own majority opinion, declaring in a speech to a bar association that he thought the outcome was "unwise," and that he would not have supported it if he were a legislator. Linda Greenhouse, Justice Weighs Desire v. Duty (Duty Prevails), N.Y. Times, Aug. 25, 2005, at Al.

This author is not one who believes that eminent domain should be used routinely. Nor does the author doubt that the current system of eminent domain is in need of significant reform. But flogging Kela is not a particularly illuminating way to start a constructive dialogue about what is right and wrong with eminent domain. In particular, six myths have been propagated about the decision-myths that are likely to cloud our collective judgment about how to reduce abuses of eminent domain and provide greater security for property rights, if they are not dispelled.


Law | Property Law and Real Estate


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