Center for Business Law & Regulation
Center for Business Law & Regulation

Case Western Reserve University School of Law

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Eminent Domain, Urban Renewal & the Constitution - Legal and Policy Perspectives

of a symposium presented Friday, February 4, 2005
by the Center for Business Law & Regulation, Case School of Law
Co-sponsored by the Federalist Society Environmental Law & Property Rights Practice Group

View web cast in Windows Media Player or Real Player.
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The symposium explored a topic timely and relevant to older urban areas
SESSION I Public Use: Fifth Amendment Limits on the Use of Eminent Domain

This panel considers the extent to which the Fifth Amendment, which provides that "nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation" - limits the purposes for which the government's eminent domain power can be used. Specifically, the panel examines the extent to which the Fifth Amendment should be read to limit or preclude the use of eminent domain for blight remediation, economic development, or other economic purposes, or whether "public use" constitutes any and all uses deemed by the legislature or other political bodies to be in the public interest. While through much of the 20th century courts gave state and local governments rather wide discretion in determining what constitutes a "public use," in recent years some courts have begun to read "public use" more narrowly.
Eric R. Claeys, Assistant Professor of Law, St. Louis University School of Law
Thomas W. Merrill, Professor of Law, Columbia Law School
John Edward Mogk, Professor of Law, Wayne State University
Timothy Sandefur, Esq., Staff Attorney, Pacific Legal Foundation
Steven J. Eagle, Professor of Law, George Mason University
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SESSION II The Value of Eminent Domain: An Effective Economic Development Strategy?

This panel addresses the policy questions raised by eminent domain, specifically the extent to which the eminent domain power is necessary, or even useful, for urban economic development. While there is little dispute that eminent domain is an important governmental tool for traditional public purposes, such as road construction and the like, there is much dispute over whether use of eminent domain to spur economic development is, in practice, an effective economic development strategy. Speakers address the pros and cons of using eminent domain as a policy tool and potential alternatives to eminent domain.
Thomas E. Bier, Professor & Director, Center for Housing Research & Policy, Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs, Cleveland State University
Jeffrey Finkle, President & CEO, International Economic Development Council
Sam Staley, Director, Urban Futures Program, Reason Public Policy Institute
Jonathan H. Adler, Associate Professor and Associate Director, Center for Business Law & Regulation, Case School of Law
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The Supreme Court has accepted certiorari in the case of Kelo et al v. City of New London to consider whether the Fifth Amendment authorizes the exercise of eminent domain to promote economic development, in this case to help a government increase its tax revenue and to create jobs. The debate features representatives of the two sides (or sympathetic amici) to give listeners a sense of the arguments that will be heard by the court.
Bert Gall, Staff Attorney, Institute for Justice
J. Peter Byrne, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center
Hiram Chodosh, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Joseph C. Hostetler Baker & Hostetler Professor of Law, Case School of Law
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