1 vote

Landmark Case - Precedent-setting Victory for Property Rights - Supreme Court, in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management

Pacific Legal Foundation Principal Attorney Paul J. Beard II about PLF’s precedent-setting victory for property rights at the U.S. Supreme Court, in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District.

The court issued its historic decision in PLF’s Koontz case in the last week of June. The decision provides property owners new protections from extortionate demands by land use permitting officials. In particular, it makes it clear that unjust demands for money are prohibited by the Constitution’s Takings Clause just as much as unjust demands for property or other concessions.

Beard successfully argued the case on behalf of Coy Koontz Jr., whom PLF represented free of charge, as with all our clients.


Trending on the Web

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

New London, CT versus Kelo

How does this US Supreme Court case affect the New London, Connecticut versus Kelo decision on private property rights?

Apology Adds An Epilogue To Kelo Case

Supreme Court Justice's Startling Apology Adds Human Context To Tough Ruling
September 18, 2011|By JEFF BENEDICT, The Hartford Courant

If a state Supreme Court judge approaches a journalist at a private dinner and says something newsworthy about an important decision, is the journalist free to publish the statement?

I faced that situation at a dinner honoring the Connecticut Supreme Court at the New Haven Lawn Club on May 11, 2010. That night I had delivered the keynote address on the U.S. Supreme Court's infamous 5-4 decision in Kelo v. New London. Susette Kelo was in the audience and I used the occasion to tell her personal story, as documented in my book "Little Pink House."

Afterward, Susette and I were talking in a small circle of people when we were approached by Justice Richard N. Palmer. Tall and imposing, he is one of the four justices who voted with the 4-3 majority against Susette and her neighbors. Facing me, he said: "Had I known all of what you just told us, I would have voted differently."

I was speechless. So was Susette. One more vote in her favor by the Connecticut Supreme Court would have changed history. The case probably would not have advanced to the U.S. Supreme Court, and Susette and her neighbors might still be in their homes.

Then Justice Palmer turned to Susette, took her hand and offered a heartfelt apology. Tears trickled down her red cheeks. It was the first time in the 12-year saga that anyone had uttered the words "I'm sorry."

It was all she could do to whisper the words: "Thank you."

Then Justice Palmer let go of her hand and walked off.


The little pink house that

The little pink house that launched a nationwide property rights movement is standing at a new location in New London, Conn. On June 21, the Institute for Justice will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony and party to celebrate the fact that this historic house has found a new home.

Piece by piece, the Kelo house is moved from the Fort Trumbull neighborhood.
Photos by Doug Schwartz

The house, moved from the Fort Trumbull neighborhood, will stand as a testament to the bravery of Susette Kelo and her neighbors, and to the thousands of others who have battled and are battling government’s abuse of eminent domain across the country. The Kelo case caused a nationwide backlash against eminent domain abuse, resulting in reform legislation in more than 40 states and numerous state court decisions in favor of property owners. It also inspired increased citizen activism to protect property rights from takings for private development.

The dedication of the Kelo house will be the first in a three-day series of events leading up to the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s infamous ruling. On Sunday, June 22, the Institute will highlight the fact that, like so many other projects that use eminent domain and rely on massive public subsidies, the Fort Trumbull project has so far been a major debacle. Close to three years after the Court’s decision, no new construction has taken place in the area, and the developer, desperate to obtain financing, has even applied to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to receive taxpayer-backed loans to build luxury rental housing. So far, more than $78 million in taxpayer funds have been spent on the project with nothing to show for it but brown, empty fields.

Finally, on Monday, June 23, the exact date of the three-year anniversary of the decision, Susette Kelo, in a special video release, will ask people throughout the nation to contribute on that day to the Institute so that we can continue the fight to protect home and small business owners. To get on the electronic distribution list for this video, email Brandon Adkins here at IJ at badkins@ij.org.u