To put on your to-buy, to-read list: lawprof Ilya Somin's forthcoming book about the Kelo case and the aftermath, available on June 5, 2015. (We're in the process of organizing some book talk events with Prof Somin in the fall, and if you have suggestions for venues or want to host one, let us know.)
Pre-order from Amazon here. The reviews are very good:
"Somin's thorough rebuttal of the constitutional reasoning and philosophical implications of the Supreme Court's Kelo decision demonstrates why that ruling was a constructive disaster: It was so dreadful it has provoked robust defenses of the role of private property in sustaining Americans' liberty."(George F. Will, journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner)
“By dint of his uncommon thoroughness, Ilya Somin has become the leading and most persuasive critic of the Supreme Court’s ill-fated 2005 Kelo decision. His close examination of the case’s factual backdrop offers chilling confirmation of his central thesis: weak constitutional protection of property rights opens the door to political intrigue that exacts its greatest toll on the poor and vulnerable in society. Somin’s gripping account of the Grasping Hand confirms your worst fears about big government.”
(Richard A. Epstein, NYU School of Law, author of Takings: Private Property and the Power of Eminent Domain)
“The Grasping Hand is likely to be the definitive analysis of the Supreme Court’s controversial decision in the Kelo case. But Somin attends to much more than that. He sets out the political and doctrinal history that led up to Kelo and critiques the legislative and judicial developments provoked by the reaction to it. Somin has long been a champion of strong property rights. What he has to say will be of value to those who share that commitment and perhaps even more to those who don’t.”
(James E. Krier, University of Michigan Law School)
"Ilya Somin is one of the world's leading scholars on property rights... his legal analysis of... eminent domain and the Kelo decision is extremely thorough and insightful. But The Grasping Hand has something more than just solid legal history and reasoning..... [U]nlike virtually all other scholarly works on eminent domain, [it] compellingly communicates the human... cost of governments teaming up with private interests to take the homes, small businesses, and other property of Americans."
(Dana Berliner & Scott Bullock, co-counsel for the homeowners in Kelo v. City of New London)
"For anyone interested in the Kelo case, I recommend Somin’s book. It is the first book-length discussion of the Kelo appellate proceedings by a legal scholar. It is also by far the most exhaustively researched history of the public use doctrine in the state and federal courts before and since Kelo. While I do not share his opposition to the Kelo decision, I welcome his good scholarship on the subject."
(Wesley Horton, counsel for the City of New London in the US Supreme Court phase of the Kelo case)
"In this carefully researched and convincingly argued volume, Ilya Somin provides a powerful critique of the Supreme Court’s “public use” jurisprudence and the controversial Kelo decision. He also gives careful attention to the hostile public reaction to the ruling, and points out that much of the post-Kelo reform legislation is inadequate to prevent future eminent domain abuse. This insightful book belongs on the shelf of anyone interested in the place of property rights in constitutional law."
(James W. Ely, Jr., Vanderbilt Law School, author of The Guardian of Every Other Right: A Constitutional History of Property Rights)
Reserve your copy today.