Kelo v. New London

Whenever a judge turns to rational-basis analysis, he’s basically saying, ‘You think two plus two equals five, and I don’t know how to add.’

– Professor Richard Epstein, at an interesting debate sponsored earlier this evening by the Columbia Law School Federalist Society. Professor Epstein and Chief Judge Alex Kozinski (9th Cir.) debated the merits of Kelo v. City of New London (2005). Professor Epstein attacked Kelo and Chief Judge Kozinski defended the decision.

(The event was standing room only, even though tonight was Halloween. Clearly this was more fun to CLS students than donning cheap costumes from Ricky’s and marching around the Village in a state of inebriation.)

My court has, by my lights, made many mistakes of law during its distinguished two centuries of existence. But it has made very few mistakes of political judgment, of estimating how far … it could stretch beyond the text of the constitution without provoking overwhelming public criticism and resistance.

Dred Scott was one mistake of that sort. Roe v. Wade was another … And Kelo, I think, was a third.

– Justice Antonin Scalia of the United States Supreme Court, commenting on several cases in which he believed SCOTUS had made mistakes of political judgment. His speech was given at the Chicago-Kent College of Law (which, as you may recall, is facing a potential class action suit over its post-graduate employment data).

Susette Kelo's home

Had I known all of what you just told us, I would have voted differently. I’m sorry.

Justice Richard Palmer (the deciding vote in the groundbreaking Kelo v. New London case) of the Connecticut Supreme Court apologizing to Susette Kelo and keynote address speaker Jeff Benedict at a dinner honoring the Court. Benedict’s novel, “Little Pink House,” documents Kelo’s personal story.