This section is part of the history of the revolt against the Kelo decision and part an exposition of the law involved in the case. Appearing here in somewhat revised form, it was published on the Social Science Research Network—a website for essays in various social science disciplines—shortly after the Supreme Court decided to hear the Kelo case in mid-2004. Along with many other comments, it predicted that the Kelo property owners would lose their case when the Court made its decision in June 2005. After you have read the later sections detailing the history of the revolt, consider whether the assumptions of this section were affirmed or contradicted by the revolt against the Kelo decision.
What are the facts of the individual?
This question is at the heart of the dispute in Kelo v. City of New London, which was accepted for review by the Supreme Court. You would never know it by looking at the Question Presented to the Court: What protection does the Fifth Amendment’s public use requirement provide for individuals whose property is being condemned, not to eliminate slums or blight but for the sole purpose of “economic development” that will perhaps increase tax revenues10 and improve
10 We are just beginning to subject taxation to an ad hoc “facts of the individual” analy-
sis. See Robert W. McGee, “Taxation and Public Finance: A Philosophical and Ethical