An Epilogue to the Kelo Case

Yesterday, Reason Magazine featured a great article that chronicles a new twist in the famous Kelo vs. New London case. This landmark case radically increased the size of government under the eminent domain clause by forcing Susette Kelo to leave her house so that the City of New London could use the land for “economic development” in 2005.

The new twist comes from a story recounted by a journalist and author Jeff Benedict. Benedict recounts a recent book reading of The Little Pink House (written on the Kelo case) in which Justice Richard N. Palmer, one of the 4 judges who voted against Kelo on the Connecticut Supreme Court was present. After the reading, Palmer came up to Susette Kelo and apologized. He explained to her that if he had known what New London would do with the land, he would have ruled differently.

While this change in opinion at the time would have swayed the 4-3 margin and allowed Susette to keep her home, it does not change the circumstances now. Kelo was ultimately forced to leave her “little pink house” which was razed for “economic development” that never came . As Reason notes, Justice Palmer, among others, should be sorry.

While Palmer’s apology doesn’t change the situation, it does go a long way to show the folly in taking property rights away from people. Hopefully we can all learn the lesson of Justice Palmer; that the property rights of citizens should be held sacred, and should not be sacrificed to the government in the name of economic development, or corporate gain.