Monday, March 14, 2011
Patricia Hureston Lee (West Virginia) has posted In the Aftermath of Kelo v. New London, a Resurrection in Norwood: One Public Interest Attorney's View (Western New England Law Review) on SSRN. Here's the abstract:
Three months before residents of New London, Connecticut, went to court in Kelo v. City of New London, I recall reading a side note about a family distraught in a different town. The family-friendly restaurant named Orlissie's, located in Oak Park, Illinois, had succumbed to the threat of eminent domain. The unfortunate news of a restaurant closing was more common, partly because of the continued and disturbing increase in the number of eminent-domain acquisitions occurring across the country.
As a public-interest attorney employed by one of the leading defenders of entrepreneurs, small businesses, and homeowners, and as former corporate counsel to a multinational corporation, I knew that this would not be the last time a business or homeowner would lose his or her property because of eminent domain. At the same time, I believed that this was yet another horrific example of a business owner losing the battle over developing property to run a business, in the manner and in the location he or she chose.
Property owners, in dilemmas similar to that of the Oak Park business owner, are not typically in a position to successfully defend the taking of their private property. The cause is as much a function of the property owner's financial and political wherewithal to challenge even the threat of eminent domain, as it is the contemporary presumption that eminent domain is, overall, beneficial.