Kelo, 2023 copied right

Will There Finally be Some Development on the Land Condemned in Kelo v. City of New London?

A new development project may finally build new housing on on property whose condemnation for purposes of “economic development” was upheld by the Supreme Court in a controversial 2005 decision.

Ilya Somin | 5.6.2023 5:57 PM

The former site of Susette Kelo’s house, May 2014. Photo by Ilya Somin.

The recent release of Justice John Paul Stevens’ papers have attracted new attention to the Supreme Court’s controversial 2005 ruling in Kelo v. City of New London, the 5-4 decision in which the justices ruled that the condemnation of homes for “private economic development” is permissible under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment, which only allows takings that are for a “public use.” Notoriously, the development project that supposedly justified the condemnations fell through, and nothing was actually built on the property where the dispossessed owners’ homes previously stood. Since the last homeowners were forced out and their houses torn down, the only regular users of the condemned land were a colony of feral cats.

Feral cat on the site of one of the properties condemned in the Kelo case, 2011 (photo by Jackson Kuhl).


That may now be in the process of changing. While I missed the news at the time, in January the Renaissance City Development Association (the private nonprofit development firm formerly known as the New London Development Corporation, which took ownership of the property after it was taken by eminent domain) sold the condemned land to a developer, which may plan to build new housing on it. The New London Day reported some details on January 19:

[A]ll the properties on the Fort Trumbull peninsula are slated for development.

Parcels on the peninsula, which also is home to Fort Trumbull State Park, have been vacant for almost 20 years. The land was cleared for development in a move by the city that led to the landmark 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Kelo v. New London, about the use of eminent domain….

The land is owned and marketed by the city’s development arm, the Renaissance City Development Association.

According to a development agreement between RCDA and RJ Development, parcels labeled 1A and 3C were sold for $500,000 and parcel 4A was sold for $1. The developer agreed to pay a $30,000 deposit to show its commitment.

The agreement states the projects on the property will primarily consist of, but will not be limited to, “the construction of residential units to be offered for market rate sale or rent/lease,” with the associated parking and other improvements.

Parcels 3C (formerly part of a larger unit called Parcel 3) and 4A are the former sites of the residential properties condemned in the Kelo litigation. Susette Kelo’s famous “little pink house,” which became a nationally known symbol of the case, was on 4A.

A later story, published on February 3, provides some additional information, including that the low price of Parcel 4A was because of the “cost of remediating the remaining contamination of soil and groundwater.” That contamination apparently developed during the long period when the parcel lay empty.

I have not been able to find any further  information on what exactly RJ Development plans to build and when construction will be completed. The project is not listed on their website, which does however describe in detail another project they are doing in the area. I have contacted RJ Development to see if they are willing to provide any details. If I learn anything of interest, I will post it right here at the Volokh Conspiracy blog!

Since 2005, several efforts to redevelop the condemned land have fallen through. Hopefully, this one will succeed. But even if it does, I don’t think it will  somehow vindicate the Kelo condemnations. The new development initiative is obviously different from the badly misconceived plan that led to the use of eminent domain over twenty years ago. Moreover, by the time any construction is completed, the land will have lain unused (except by feral cats!) for nearly twenty years. From the standpoint of promoting development, that’s an enormous waste.

The region would almost certainly have been better off economically if the original owners had been allowed to keep living there, paying property taxes, and contributing to the local economy. And that doesn’t even consider the enormous pain and suffering the original development project inflicted on those who lost their homes (including some who sold them “voluntarily” as a result of harassment and the threat of eminent domain). I describe the history of the condemnation process and the harm it inflicted in much more detail in  The Grasping Hand: Kelo v. City of New London and the Limits of Eminent Domain, my book about the Kelo case and its aftermath.

As I have previously emphasized in the book and elsewhere, the flaws in the New London development project don’t necessarily prove that the Court got the Kelo decision wrong. Plenty of unjust and ill-conceived government policies are still legal. But there are in fact compelling reasons to reject the Court’s reasoning, from the standpoint of both originalism and living constitutionalism. At least four current Supreme Court justices have expressed interest in revisiting and possibly overruling Kelo, and I hope it will indeed eventually be overruled. In the meantime, I will do what I can to find out what, if anything, is going to be built on the two parcels.

New COVID Origin Explanation…same as old one

Definitely spread from the wet market, but possibility that an infected human came into the wet market first remains wide open.

OPEN THREAD: for new comments

A traditional NR conservative, Matthew Continetti, has written a new book on the last hundred years of American conservatism. YMMV, but after watching the video, your commentary is invited.

IRS punishes S corp shareholders that have relatives From Forbes, copied right.

In a tremendously unpleasant surprise for owners of S-corporations and C-Corporations and their tax advisors, the IRS issued Notice 2021-49 on August 4th which states that the Employee Retention Credit (ERC), made available for businesses suffering from the COVID-19 crisis, will not be available with respect to wages paid to a majority owner, or such owner’s spouse, if the majority owner has a brother or sister (whether by whole or half-blood), ancestor, or lineal descendant.

In the event that the majority owner of a corporation has no brother or sister (whether by whole or half-blood), ancestor, or lineal descendant, then wages paid to a majority owner and such owner’s spouse will qualify for the Employee Retention Credit.

Yes, you read that right. If a majority owner of a corporation has any living family members then wages paid to the owner will not be eligible for the ERC credit; however, if the majority owner has no family then wages are eligible for the ERC credit.

This is brutally unfair and makes no sense whatsoever. Only orphans that have no children are able to get the credit, while it is people with large families who need the credit to support their families. This is anti-family, unamerican, and utterly without logic or justification.

My comment: Congress ain’t gonna fix it, either.



Unnecessary Detail?

Eugene Volokh | 7.27.2021 8:01 AM

From the Minnesota disorderly conduct statute:

Whoever does any of the following in a public or private place, including on a school bus, knowing, or having reasonable grounds to know that it will, or will tend to, alarm, anger or disturb others or provoke an assault or breach of the peace, is guilty of disorderly conduct, which is a misdemeanor:

(1) engages in brawling or fighting; or

(2) disturbs an assembly or meeting, not unlawful in its character; or

(3) engages in offensive, obscene, abusive, boisterous, or noisy conduct or in offensive, obscene, or abusive language tending reasonably to arouse alarm, anger, or resentment in others.

A person does not violate this section if the person’s disorderly conduct was caused by an epileptic seizure.

I would think that the last sentence wouldn’t really be necessary, at least to the extent it’s aimed at capturing involuntary conduct: It’s a general principle of criminal law that involuntary conduct (e.g., sleepwalking and actions during a seizure) isn’t covered by the law, under the so-called actus reus doctrine. I suppose it might be good to make this extra clear, though perhaps there’s some risk that courts might infer that Minnesota statutes that lack such a provision implicitly reject the actus reus doctrine. But in any event, I’ve never seen something like this in a statute, so I thought I’d note it.

(It might be a crime to do something knowing that you’re at risk of involuntary conduct that causes injury—for instance,  it may be reckless driving to drive when you know you’re subject to extremely frequent seizures, or for that matter when you know you’re very likely to fall asleep or otherwise lose consciousness—but that doesn’t seem to apply here.)


In which it is detailed how much violence occurred during mainly peaceful BLM demonstrations and how relatively sporadic police overreaction was.

In which a previously ignored ground for impeachment is argued.



The Pennsylvania Senator offered an appropriate response to the Trump campaign’s failed election litigation

Jonathan H. Adler | 11.23.2020 10:34 AM

Over the weekend, a federal district court judge through (sic) out the Trump campaign’s effort to challenge the Pennsylvania election results in Donald J. Trump for President v. Boockvar. The strongly worded opinion by Judge Matthew Brann excoriates the Trump campaign’s legal team, their arguments, and their tactics.

In response to the ruling, Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) issued a statement that is worth quoting in full, as it provides a model for how other elected Republicans should be handling the Trump campaign’s legal maneuvers.

With today’s decision by Judge Matthew Brann, a longtime conservative Republican whom I know to be a fair and unbiased jurist, to dismiss the Trump campaign’s lawsuit, President Trump has exhausted all plausible legal options to challenge the result of the presidential race in Pennsylvania.

This ruling follows a series of procedural losses for President Trump’s campaign. On Friday, the state of Georgia certified the victory of Joe Biden after a hand recount of paper ballots confirmed the conclusion of the initial electronic count. Michigan lawmakers rejected the apparent attempt by President Trump to thwart the will of Michigan voters and select an illegitimate slate of electoral college electors. These developments, together with the outcomes in the rest of the nation, confirm that Joe Biden won the 2020 election and will become the 46th President of the United States.

I congratulate President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on their victory. They are both dedicated public servants and I will be praying for them and for our country. Unsurprisingly, I have significant policy disagreements with the President-elect. However, as I have done throughout my career, I will seek to work across the aisle with him and his administration, especially on those areas where we may agree, such as continuing our efforts to combat COVID-19, breaking down barriers to expanding trade, supporting the men and women of our armed forces, and keeping guns out of the hands of violent criminals and the dangerously mentally ill.

Make no mistake about it, I am deeply disappointed that President Trump and Vice President Pence were not re-elected. I endorsed the president and voted for him. During his four years in office, his administration achieved much for the American people. The tax relief and regulatory overhauls that President Trump enacted with Republicans in Congress produced the strongest economy of my adult life. He also should be applauded for forging historic peace agreements in the Middle East, facilitating the rapid development of a COVID-19 vaccine through Operation Warp Speed, appointing three outstanding Supreme Court justices, and keeping America safe by neutralizing ISIS and killing terrorists like Qasem Soleimani and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

To ensure that he is remembered for these outstanding accomplishments, and to help unify our country, President Trump should accept the outcome of the election and facilitate the presidential transition process.

Indulging the President’s continued efforts to delegitimize the election through frivolous litigation and conspiracy mongering is not patriotic. It is quite the opposite. Elections have consequences, and in this election the Republican presidential candidate lost. Republicans and others who supported Trump need to acknowledge this fact and move on, as Senator Toomey has.

Alas, there is reason to believe the shenanigans will continue. The Trump campaign filed a notice of appeal in the Pennsylvania litigation with the U.S. Court of Appeals yesterday, but did not ask the court to delay certification of the Pennsylvania results. Other suits remain pending in Wisconsin and elsewhere, and some Republican office holders are still seeking to prevent the certification of results in other states. None of this will overturn President-elect Biden’s victory. It will, however, continue to exacerbate tribal partisan divisions and undermine confidence in our institutions.

It is long past time for more Republicans to put country over party Trump.


Jonathan H. Adler (@jadler1969) is the Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

Dear Diary 2020 Edition (from a younger person)

In January, Australia caught on fire. I don’t even know if that fire was put out, because we straight up almost went to war with Iran. We might actually still be almost at war with them. I don’t know, because Jen Aniston and Brad Pitt spoke to one another at an awards show and everyone flipped the fuck out, but then Netflix released Cheer and everyone fell in love with Jerry, but then there was a thing happening in China, then Prince Harry and Megan peaced out of the Royal family, and there was the whole impeachment trial, and then corona virus showed up in the US “officially,” but then Kobe died and UK peaced out of the European Union
In February, Iowa crapped itself with the caucus results and the president was acquitted and the Speaker of the House took ten years to rip up a speech, but then WHO decided to give this virus a name COVID-19, which confused some really important people in charge of, like, our lives, into thinking there were 18 other versions before it, but then Harvey Weinstein was found guilty, and Americans started asking if Corona beer was safe to drink, and everyone on Facebook became a doctor who just knew the flu like killed way more people than COVID 1 through 18.
In March, shit hit the fan. Warren dropped out of the presidential race and Sanders was like Bernie or bust, but then Italy shut its whole ass down, and then COVID Not 1 through 18 officially become what everyone already realized, a pandemic and then a nationwide state of emergency was declared in US, but it didn’t really change anything, so everyone was confused or thought it was still just a flu, but then COVID Not 18 was like ya’ll not taking me seriously? I’m gonna infect the one celebrity everyone loves and totally infected Tom Hanks, but then the DOW took a shit on itself, and most of us still don’t understand why the stock market is so important or even a thing(I still don’t), but then we were all introduced to Tiger King. (Carol totally killed her husband), and Netflix was like you’re welcome, and we all realized there was no way we were washing our hands enough in the first place because all of our hands are now dry and gross.
In April, Bernie finally busted himself out of the presidential race, but then NYC became the set of The Walking Dead and we learn that no one has face masks, ventilators, or toilet paper, or THE GOD DAMN SWIFTER WET JET LIQUID, but then Kim Jong-Un died, but then he came back to life… or did he? Who knows, because then the Pentagon released videos of UFOs, and we were like man, it’s only April….
In May, the biblical end times kicked off historical locust swarms and then we learned of murder hornets and realized that 2020 was the start of the Hunger Games but people forgot to let us know, but then people legit protested lockdown measures with AR-15s, and then sports events were cancelled everywhere, But then people all over America finally reached a breaking point with race issues and violence. There were protests in every city, but then people totes forgot about the pandemic called COVID Not One Through 18. Media struggled with how to focus on two important things at once, but then people in general struggle to focus on more than one important thing, and a dead whale was found in the middle of the Amazon rain forest after monkeys stole COVID 1 Through 19 from a lab and ran off with them, and either in May or April (no one is keeping track of time now) a giant asteroid narrowly missed earth.
In June, science and common sense just got thrown straight out the window and somehow wearing masks became a political thing, but then a whole lot of people realized the South was actually the most unpatriotic thing ever and actually lost the civil war, and there is a large amount of people who feel that statues they don’t even know the name of are needed for … history reasons, but then everyone sort of remembered there was a pandemic, but then decided that not wearing a mask was somehow a god given right (still haven’t found that part in the bible or even in the constitution), but then scientists announced they found a mysterious undiscovered mass at the center of the earth, and everyone was like DON’T YOU DARE TOUCH IT, but then everyone took a pause to realize that people actually believed Gone With The Wind was like non-fiction, but then it was also announced that there is a strange radio signal coming from somewhere in the universe that repeats itself every so many days, and everyone was like DON’T YOU DARE ATTEMPT TO COMMUNICATE WITH. IT, but then America reopened from the shut down that actually wasn’t even a shut down, and so far, things have gone spectacularly not that great, but everyone is on Facebook arguing that masks kill because no one knows how breathing works, but then Florida was like hold my beer and let me show you how we’re number one in all things, including new Not Corona Beer Corona Virus, Trump decides now is a good time to ask the Supreme Court to shut down Obama Care because what better time to do so than in the middle of a pandemic, but then we learned there was a massive dust cloud coming straight at us from the Sahara Desert, which is totally normal, but this is 2020, so the ghost mummy thing is most likely in that dust cloud, but then I learned of meth-gators, and I’m like that is so not on my fucking 2020 Bingo card, but then we learned that the Congo’s worse ever Ebola outbreak is over, and we were all like, there was an Ebola outbreak that was the worse ever?
In July…. Aliens? Zeus? Asteroids? Artificial Intelligence becomes self aware?

How has the US/Commie Bastards relationship been more beneficial to the Commie Bastards under Trump?



For the most part I think it has not been.

BHO did not take Russia seriously until 2014 [Crimea].  But after DJT was elected, at least in 2017-18, his Admin continued to take Russia seriously and I can list stuff it did:

Authorized lethal military aid to Ukraine.

Shuttered two Russian consulates, multiple diplomatic annexes, and expelled 60 diplomats – Seattle and SF.

Sanctioned Russian oligarchs and officials. 40 or so of them.

Expanded the Magnitsky sanctions list. This I had forgotten.  Had to look it up because I thought he did the opposite.

Made RT and Sputnik register as foreign agents.

I think there were additional sanctions of Russki businesses who aided NK and Iran.

Publicly blamed Russia for a cyberattack on the Ukraine, not a biggie, but I am being fair.

On the other hand, he publicly treats Putin with deference [I don’t need examples here, do I?] and has denied the findings of our own national security establishment regarding Russian meddling in our election process.  Personally, I think the Admin responses have become more erratic since his first group of professional advisors chosen from the military have been replaced by political appointees.

I get that he wants out of AFG.  I get that he wants out of the ME.  These are not stupid goals.  I don’t get screwing around insulting NATO and pulling troops out of Germany.  I do think that invites more bullying in eastern Europe from Russia.

Hydrogen for Energy? Splitting Water Molecule on the Cheap


Water-splitting module a source of perpetual energy

by Mike Williams,  
Water-splitting module a source of perpetual energy
A schematic and electron microscope cross-section show the structure of an integrated, solar-powered catalyst to split water into hydrogen fuel and oxygen. The module developed at Rice University can be immersed into water directly to produce fuel when exposed to sunlight. Credit: Jia Liang/Rice University

Rice University researchers have created an efficient, low-cost device that splits water to produce hydrogen fuel.

The platform developed by the Brown School of Engineering lab of Rice materials scientist Jun Lou integrates catalytic electrodes and perovskite solar cells that, when triggered by sunlight, produce electricity. The current flows to the catalysts that turn water into hydrogen and oxygen, with a sunlight-to-hydrogen efficiency as high as 6.7%.

This sort of catalysis isn’t new, but the lab packaged a perovskite layer and the electrodes into a single module that, when dropped into water and placed in sunlight, produces hydrogen with no further input.

The platform introduced by Lou, lead author and Rice postdoctoral fellow Jia Liang and their colleagues in the American Chemical Society journal ACS Nano is a self-sustaining producer of fuel that, they say, should be simple to produce in bulk.

“The concept is broadly similar to an artificial leaf,” Lou said. “What we have is an integrated module that turns sunlight into electricity that drives an electrochemical reaction. It utilizes water and sunlight to get chemical fuels.”

Perovskites are crystals with cubelike lattices that are known to harvest light. The most efficient perovskite solar cells produced so far achieve an efficiency above 25%, but the materials are expensive and tend to be stressed by light, humidity and heat.

“Jia has replaced the more expensive components, like platinum, in perovskite solar cells with alternatives like carbon,” Lou said. “That lowers the entry barrier for commercial adoption. Integrated devices like this are promising because they create a system that is sustainable. This does not require any external power to keep the module running.”

Liang said the key component may not be the perovskite but the polymer that encapsulates it, protecting the module and allowing to be immersed for long periods. “Others have developed catalytic systems that connect the solar cell outside the water to immersed electrodes with a wire,” he said. “We simplify the system by encapsulating the perovskite layer with a Surlyn (polymer) film.”

The patterned film allows sunlight to reach the solar cell while protecting it and serves as an insulator between the cells and the electrodes, Liang said.

“With a clever system design, you can potentially make a self-sustaining loop,” Lou said. “Even when there’s no sunlight, you can use stored energy in the form of chemical fuel. You can put the hydrogen and oxygen products in separate tanks and incorporate another module like a fuel cell to turn those fuels back into electricity.”

The researchers said they will continue to improve the encapsulation technique as well as the solar cells themselves to raise the efficiency of the modules.

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