The Land Report

FALL 2015

The Magazine of the American Landowner is an essential guide for investors, landowners, and those interested in buying or selling land. The award-winning quarterly is known for its annual survey of America's largest landowners, The Land Report 100.

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FA L L 2 0 1 5 | The LandReport 19 LANDREPORT.COM FrontGate P R O P E R T Y R I G H T S P R O P E R T Y R I G H T S | L A N D ' S B E S T F R I E N D | TO P T E N | I N V E S T I N G O n June 23, 2005, a team of attorneys for the Institute for Justice (IJ), a nonprofit libertarian public interest law firm, was gathered in a morning meeting when the telephone rang. Since presenting their arguments before the Supreme Court months before, they had long awaited the ruling in the case of Kelo v. City of New London, the first major exami- nation of eminent domain law in decades. The lead attorney on the case, Scott Bullock, took the call. The news was not good. A split court had ruled 5 to 4 in favor of the City of New London. The IJ team would now have to call seven homeowners to let them know that their houses would most likely be razed. "Obviously, we were all very disappointed at the court's decision and shocked that the court would do this to the homeowners," said Bullock. "It was just wrong from a con- stitutional perspective, and it was also intellectually unsound and wildly unpopular, leading to immediate backlash." This year marks the tenth anniversary of the now-infamous Kelo decision. Before it was handed down, eminent domain was a power typically reserved for certain public uses, such as putting in utility lines or roadways. After Kelo, eminent domain could be used for a perceived public benefit, even in the hands of a private party. After the verdict was announced, the outrage was not just immediate; it was intense. Kelo Postmortem A decade has passed since the Rehnquist Court's "intellectually unsound" decision in Kelo v. City of New London.

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