Five years after Kelo, property rights generally stronger

Victor Joecks

Five years ago last Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Kelo v. City of New London that the government could use eminent domain to take your home or business and give it to another private citizen or business – if the recipient promised to provide greater tax returns. Yes, the decision really is as bad as it sounds.

Fortunately, Americans haven’t taken this affront to property rights lying down.

As Bob Irwin writes, the backlash in the past five years has been remarkable.

  • 9 state high courts have limited eminent domain powers
  • 43 state legislatures have passed greater property rights protections
  • 44 eminent domain abuse projects have been defeated by grassroots activists
  • 88 percent of the public now believe that property rights are as important as free speech and freedom of religion

Much of the credit goes to the Institute for Justice, which took the case to the Supreme Court and has done incredible work bringing this issue to the attention of tens of millions of Americans.