Property Rights and Eminent Domain in America
by David Schultz
December 2009, 233pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-35344-4
$49, £37, 43€, A67
eBook Available: 978-0-313-35345-1
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.
Evicted! is a practical and critical look at the vulnerability of Americans' property rights to eminent domain abuse since the Supreme Court’s 2005 Kelo decision.

The 2005 Supreme Court decision Kelo v. City of New London, which upheld the taking of an individual’s home by local government for the sake of private development, unleashed a firestorm of controversy. The backlash against eminent domain cuts across partisan, ideological, and racial lines, with 4 out of 5 Americans opposing Kelo. Critics of Kelo claim that it represents a radical departure in the law, putting every homeowner in jeopardy of dispossession by government at the service of corporate interests. But are property rights and eminent domain truly in mortal conflict? Written for general readers, property owners, and local government officials seeking to understand the implications of Kelo for eminent domain and property law, Evicted! cuts through all the hype and hysteria surrounding Kelo and argues that the alleged wave of eminent domain abuse is mostly a myth.

Evicted! describes what property rights are, why the law protects them, and how eminent domain really works. Schultz shows that Kelo did not make new law but only broadened Supreme Court precedents, and he refutes claims that Kelo has opened the way to widespread eminent domain abuse. Nevertheless, the author identifies certain legislative changes that are needed at the local, state, and national levels to better protect individual property owners when corporate thugs and corrupt government officials occasionally gang up against them.

David Schultz is a Hamline University professor in the School of Business in St. Paul, MN, and a senior fellow at the University of Minnesota Law School’s Institute for Law and Politics. He is the author of more than 25 books and 70 articles on topics including property law, land use, and eminent domain law. He is a former city director of planning, zoning, and code enforcement who was responsible for an agency that enforced city and state housing laws, and he has served as a housing and economic planner for an Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) community action agency.


"Anyone interested in the interaction between property rights and eminent domain need read no further than this superb treatise by Schultz (Hamlin Univ. School of Law). . . . Highly recommended. All readership levels."—Choice, August 1, 2010

"Schultz provides a broad, historical, philosophical, legal, and policy overview of the issue of eminent domain. This treatment is accessible to a general audience, including undergraduates, and will be of use to its intended audience as well as academics looking to quickly get up to speed on the foundational and current issues surrounding eminent domain post-Kelo."—The Law and Politics Book Review, September 1, 2010

"Life, liberty, and the pursuit of property? So it is, claims David Schultz in a lucid and compelling account of the government’s exercise of eminent domain in a growing number of cases in America. Schultz documents how large corporations and wealthy interests team up with local government officials to secure property for development that is arguably not in the public interest. This book is must reading for ordinary people and those trained in law. 'David Schultz outlines the vital contours of a most important and controversial subject—the right of the government to take property in the name of the public interest. Alas, not all is well in his accounting of this subject as too often eminent domain is an exercise in thuggery with government and business ganging up on the poor and defenseless to advance private interests and damage local democracy. This book is for all who own property and want to protect themselves from abuse. It is equally compelling reading for those who believe that a healthy democracy requires fairness and transparency in governance. 'David Schultz takes the reader on a journey into the use and abuse of the taking of property by eminent domain proceedings. The journey does not require the reader to be trained in law. Rather, it is quite layman friendly. It is a lucid and carefully crafted examination of a vital public policy and practice--property rights and eminent domain in America.'"—Donald C. Menzel, 2005-06 President, American Society for Public Administration & President, Ethics Management International

"As one of the few public voices trying to explain the public benefit of using the power of eminent domain following the Supreme Court’s decision in Kelo v. City of New London, I have witnessed and experienced an overwhelming emotional tsunami. Reflective discussion was impossible with the public’s demands for action and individual legislators reacting without examining the actual court decision, an example of ready, fire, aim public policy. Evicted! Property Rights and Eminent Domain in America by David Schultz, provides the reasoned, reflective examination critical to understanding this complex Constitutional and public policy issue of Eminent Domain. It moves well beyond sound bites and emotions. While I would take issue with some of his conclusions, Schultz has done a great public service in laying out the legal history of eminent domain, critically examining the arguments of the opponents, explaining both the substantive and human elements that produced the profound emotional tsunami, and offering up reasoned public policy recommendations.'"—Don Borut, Executive Director, National League of Cities
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