Document Type



Kelo is NOT Dred Scott. Kelo is not only NOT Dred Scott, it was, as this Essay will argue, the right decision given the facts of the cases and the current state of legal jurisprudence. As an academic who has detailed the historic exploitation of eminent domain to uproot persons of color in this country, I find it interesting, and somewhat troubling, that the case has received so much criticism, much more criticism, I would argue, than other Supreme Court decisions that deserve condemnation. Certainly, eminent domain, like any other government power, must be regulated carefully. But upending the principles of judicial restraint and federalism is not necessary in this case. This Essay argues that eminent domain is a necessary tool for governments to promote the public interest, and that the problem of potential “abuse” can be managed by less dramatic—and more effective—methods than categorical bans on the use of condemnation