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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  August 2, 2009 7:30am-9:00am EDT

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the case went all the way to the u.s. supreme court which upheld the city's authority to force miss kelo to sell her property. this is about 90 minutes. >> good afternoon, welcome to the cato institute. my name is roger pilon. i'm the director of center for constitutional studies which is hosting today's book forum. most believe the right to property is sacred and they have the right to do so because the constitution says nor shall private property shall be taken for private use without just compensation. they think their home is their castle. a phrase that stems from the 17th century jurist lord cook. unfortunately, over the course of the 20th century, that right to private property has been
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slowly eroded by a series of decisions that have come from the state supreme courts and the u.s. supreme court. early on in the area of regulatory takings, and more recently in the area of the full use of eminent domain whereby government condemns a person's property, not for use by the public but rather to transfer the title to another private owner for the purpose of economic development, and that's exactly the story that we're here to talk about today in the form of the case that reached the supreme court in 2005 by the name of kelo v. city of new london connecticut. the case arose when the city sought to condemn susette kelo's
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home and to transfer title to private developers to establish upscale commercial and residential property. sflufsh she fought it all the way to the supreme court. it was argued by scott bullock, whom you'll be hearing from today. >> and she was represented in the form of scott bullock who took the case to the public all across the country. under the direction of john kramer, the vice president for communications, at the institute for justice and victory was
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achieved in state after state such that today some 43 states have tightened up their takings law and can no longer take property for public -- for private development in the way they used to. these regulations vary from state to state but is a far better picture today than it was before this case reached the supreme court and created the firestorm that it did. all of this has been drawn together in a wonderful book that has just come out, which is what we're here to talk about today. it's called "little pink house." its author is jeff benedict who will be our principal speaker today. and it is a real page-turner as publishers weekly described it. jeff is on a tour right now. and we're fortunate to have that tour begin here in washington. they're going to new york after
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this. and we're going to be hearing from jeff at some length about the book. then we're going to hear from the heroine susette kelo and we'll hear the attorney who argued the case before the supreme court scott bullock. i will introduce susette and scott just before they speak and let me introduce jeff and after we are through at about 1:30 or so, jeff and susette will be available to sign copies of the book which are available for purchase at a discount just outside. so please get your copy at a discount and have it signed by the author and the heroine herself. now, let me introduce jeff. he is an award-winning investigative journalist and bestselling author of seven books. including the mormon way of doing business, out of bonds, pro and cons, without reservation.
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his articles have appeared in "sports illustrated," "the hartford courant," the "los angeles times," village voice and the "new york times." he's appeared in all the major media, abc, cbs news, nbc, fox news and so forth. he's been featured -- his books have been featured on "60 minutes." he's a graduate of eastern connecticut state university. he has an m.a. in political science from northeastern university and a law degree from the new england college of law. please welcome jeff benedict. [applause] >> thank you very much. and thank you to cato for inviting us here and giving us the opportunity to be here. it's really an honor for all of us to be here. and it's been an honor, frankly, to work on "little pink house." i'm from new london. i was born there. and i was raised in towns right around new london and i had watched this story unfold like
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most of us who live in and around new london it was in our papers everyday for roughly seven years. and as this was going on, i was writing other books and covering other stories and in the back of my mind i would hope no one else would write this book before i got to it because it was such a compelling story that it needed to be a book. and when the decks finally cleared for me it was thanksgiving of 2005. and unlike most journalists in the country who may have wanted to write this book, i could literally get in my car and drive five minutes and be in the fort trumble neighborhood where this whole thing happened and i knocked on the pink house door. i didn't know susette at the time. and usually as a journalist when i'm going to approach somebody who i really want to do an interview with me, i prepare quite a bit. i research them. i prepare my approach. 'cause oftentimes if you mess it up, you may lose the
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opportunity to interview them and so i had this terrific pitch for susette, and i got to the tore and i was all already to go and she opened the door i said hi i'm jeff benedict and i'm an investigative journalist and i'd -- and she interrupted me right then. she said i know who you are. what took you so long. so started our relationship and she invited me into this pink house that i had seen so often in the news and in the paper and for the next three hours we sat at her kitchen table and i asked her invasive questions. and how truthful and open she would be, whether she would work for a lead vehicle to tell the story and i was convinced after three hours that she would. she told me she would cooperate and she walked me through the neighborhood. at the time there were still some houses there. the supreme court had handed
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down the ruling but the ruling hadn't been executed yet and so there were -- all the holdouts in the case were still there and we walked around. and by the time i got to my car, in my mind i knew what the title of this book would be. "little pink house." it was very clear and usually titles are up with of the hard things of a book and i started working my way through the story and the central question that was intriguing to me -- i mean, everybody knows the outcome. we know the end. but what i wanted to know what was the beginning. how did this thing start? and whose idea was in this in the first place is to take homes and why? that was actually a really hard question to get to the bottom of because there were three central parties that wanted to take this neighborhood. there was the state of connecticut who had a governor at the time who was aggressively doing waterfront properties in connecticut. they are democratically controlled. he's a popular republican governor and he's getting into
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these democratic cities and how is he doing this without the cooperation of these democratic governments. that's one issue. number two there's a global pharmaceutical giant, pfizer, that is building a headquarters next tore to susette's neighborhood. and next is the new london development corporation who hire the people who use the bulldozers to plow the houses down. those three parties come together. who's first? i mean, who started this all and what i discovered was the governor wanted to go into new london and he didn't know how to get in. he looked for someone who could open the city for him and go around the local government. he used a lobbist who was a democrat but who would be happy for money use his connections to help the governor bet into the city. and the governor gets in the city and how do we develop here? there's a vehicle we used to have called the new london development corporation. it's not a -- it's not a public
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organization in the sense that we don't elect these people but we appoint them. we could reactivate that organization and give them the power to do the development program that you want to do. and so, okay, well, who's going to lead it? well, they go over to connecticut college and they find this flamboyant woman who's a great fundraiser. she's got power and chutzpah and we'll put her in charge because she can get it done. so she comes on board. you got the state and the new london development corporation but how are we going to do a big development in a city that's depressed and she had the bright idea -- we need to get a fortune 500 company to come in first because if they say yes to new london, then that's like building a mall and starting with an anchor store like macy's then everybody else will come. well, who are we going to get? let's get pfizer because they have a facility across the river
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and word is they're trying to expand and they need land. and it turned out to be true so claire picked up the phone because who sits on the board of directors at connecticut college where she's the president? the president of pfizer. and so she calls him at home. i'd like to talk to you about something. and they have a one-on-one dialog that starts and she says would you think about new london? no way. we're not going to new london. we've already got our sites. we're down to the last two. it's too late to think about new london but she works them and she lobbies them and they finally make a great proposal with the governor's consent which is we have 24 acres on the waterfront. it's environmentally toxic but the state will clean it at their cost and they'll give you the whole 24 acres which are right on long island sound for 1 dollar. all you have to do is agree to build there and pfizer looks at that and says well, that's not bad. but there's a few more things we'd like. and they're not really
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suggestions, they're requirements. here are the things that we need. well, the important one for this story -- 'cause there was a bunch of them. the important one we would like the 90 acres around this site to be cleared, razed, just erased. get the eraser out and take it off the map and we want to build new things. we don't want to build them. we want you to build them. we'd like a five star hotel and a health club and spa and some biomedical research facilities, we'd like some office space and we'd like some upscale housing and when you think about it from pfizer's perspective it makes sense. if you're going to build your research development you would like a neighborhood that you like and complements what you're doing. i understand that. so the question is, if you're the governor are you going to say yes to that? are you going to guarantee that you can guarantee that. the governor did say yes. and pfizer said yes and signed and off we go. and that works great for people
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who want to sell that land who lives in that 90 acres. most of those people who had businesses that hadn't done anything in a long time because it was industrial properties and business zones but there was also a neighborhood that was residential and the neighborhood had been there over 100 years settled by italian immigrants, people whose father's father built those houses and had lived there and people who were born there, people who wanted to die there. it was a great neighborhood. it wasn't dilapidated. and they didn't want to leave yet there was only person in that neighborhood who actually had the courage to say that to someone's face and that was susette. 'cause a lot of the people were elderly. and they use a cane to get around and they're too shaky to sign their name on a contract. and they weren't equipped to fight the governor, a pharmaceutical and a development corporation with bulldozers to
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plow houses down. this is terrific because they did all the things -- i was a politics student and when i went to school i mean, they taut us how to use the democratic process. you write letters to the editor. you go to the city council and you speak in hearings. you get petitions and you get ready to sign them. you know what, they did all that stuff and it didn't matter. none of it mattered. the fix was in. this was going to happen no matter what the people said. no matter. it was happening. and it did happen. they started knocking houses town. and as i reported this story, i thought this is -- this is remarkable because we're talking about 90 acres and the fact is that these homeowners, they actually possessed about less than 3 acres of the 90 acres in question. and i couldn't help but think from a business standpoint -- i remember in law school when we took these business law classes and they talked about association and promise and
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efficiency and everything else, i'm thinking wait a second here, the city has $100 million of the state's money -- actually it was some of my money because i'm a taxpayer in connecticut. it's my money that they've sunk into this thing. pfizer has got all this money in this thing and the city has got all this money into this thing and they want to build all this stuff and 83.3 acres isn't enough? they need the other 2.3? and if they can't get the 2.3 and we'll have a fight to go to the supreme court that will take seven years. as a journalist i dug in deep to the characters and the background of who these people are. yes, i have a law degree but honestly there's something a lot more fascinating than just the law. they didn't even taut it in law school. i don't think i remember anything in eminent domain and
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why do people do the things that they do? why this someone who works at a college, a liberal arts college, that teaches people to help the poor, the underprivileged -- people who don't have representation in government -- why would somebody like that carry the banner that says, we need to get these people out of their houses and knock them town? what makes somebody think that way? why did the governor think that this was a good idea? what about the guy from pfizer who had to make the decision whether to support this decision. is in how does he think and feel about this? obviously, i want to know why did someone like susette, a nurse, who's never been in a courtroom before, never testified, never been deposed, never been represented by a lawyer, never been interviewed by, you know, sean hannity and all these other shows that suddenly are on her doorstep and
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with cameras and lights. is she greedy and mad? those are the questions you have. when you put it all together you realize there's simple reasons people do these extraordinary things. what i said in the introduction of the book i believe in my bones. pride is what this story is about in america. this is a story about pride. and there's two kinds of pride. there's the kind of pride that a father whose proud of something his child does, that's good pride. we all know what that pride is. it's a good thing. susette has pride. she has the good kind of pride. she's a person that, you know, what? i made this pink house what it is. i sanded these floors with my hands and knees. i clean the place myself. my feet bled with sandals to get
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to the door. i have something in this place and i have pride in my place and i'm not going to let somebody come in here and take it away. that's one kind of pride. here's the other kind of pride. there's the pride that is the first of the seven cardinal sins. well, that kind of pride is oozing through this story. that's the pride that says, we're smarter than everybody else. we know what's better for you. don't get in our way. there is no room for compromise. and when you win the case at the end of the day, and the supreme court says, 5-4 you can take these houses, that still doesn't mean you have to. it just means you can. and someone without pride might have said, you know, we won the case but, you know, maybe the right thing now is to work with these few seven people left and
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let's do this together instead of how soon can we get the gas in the machine and how the houses down? that's the bad pride. this story is about pride. last month i went back there for the first time since writing the book. and when i went back i took a little tour of the neighborhood. there's nothing left now. susette's pink house was taken down board by board and it's actually reconstructed in another part of the city now but rest of the houses were destroyed and i went through the neighborhood. and this is all i could find. do you know what these are? they don't make nails like this anymore. these are the nails that were from underneath the pink house. it's about all that's left there. hopefully, the new london development corporation doesn't charge me for theft 'cause i guess this is their property technically but i collected these because it struck me when i looked down on the ground and i thought for 100 years people
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lived on these couple of streets. they didn't lock their doors. everybody's kids knew each other. i mean, it was a real community. something in america that there isn't a lot of left here today and here was one little town that had that and now all that's left there is this. and three years after the supreme court said it's okay to knock this down because if you're going to build all those things the city can use the revenue that is a public benefit. it's public use and there is a difference. this is a public benefit. and we will allow the taking of private property if you can show a public benefit. well, folks, it's been three years. and they haven't built anything. they haven't built a thing. they've knocked a lot of things town but they haven't built anything and as far as job creation, job stimulus, the only jobs that have been generated here have been for demolition crews. there's been no other workers there that have had a job.
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it's a dangerous, dangerous precedent. i'll tell you that it was -- i've done eight books now in my career on all kinds of subjects similar to this. nothing quite as powerful in my mind as this. this has been my favorite and hardest story to write. it was incredibly hard to write this story because it is a complicated layered one with lots of people in it. but, boy, is it an important one. and it's been an honor, frankly, to associate with susette, with scott and with john kramer. i have to tell you as a journalist, i really boyd the interviews that i did with the folks from pfizer and the folks from the new london development corporation from the lawyers who argued this case. and thinking that what they did was right and they'd be happy to
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tell you why. but it's been an honor to work on it. it's an important case. it really is. sandra day o'connor said, it was the last thing that sandra day o'connor was the dissenting opinion in this case and she made the plea at the end -- she said, you know, really what we've done here today is we've made it unsafe for every farm, for every house and for every business because if you can make the argument that there's a public benefit to do this and justice breyer from the oral arguments you pretty much can find a public benefit in just about anything. you know, 2 cents of higher tax revenue, well, that's a benefit, you know? and now there's no line. so it's important. i thank you very much for your time and look forward to your questions. thank you. [applause]
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>> well, thank you very much, jeff. we're now going to hear from susette herself. susette is not a public speaker, she says, but she certainly is a bub figure. -- public figure. she's going to speak very i%1e and she has since this all begun has gotten her nursing degree. she's a practicing nurse now and she will tell you, i guess, the house still exists, not where it did but please welcome susette kelo. [applause] >> good afternoon, everyone. my name is susette kelo and the government stole my home. first the municipal government of my hometown new london connecticut stole it. then the state of connecticut said it was legal for them to take it.
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finally, the federal government said it was constitutional to steal not only my home but the homes of all my neighbors and anyone's home for purpose of economic development. basically, what that means if someone who can add more to the grand list of your town or city than you and your property can be made history. even though 40 states have passed legislation offering some protection for home and business owners, don't think your property is safe because it is not. over 10 years ago i was lucky enough to find a great deal on a house on the thames river in new london, connecticut. i spent every spare moment fixing it up and making it the kind of home i had always dreamed of. i'm sure you've heard the expression location, location, location. well, this was the wrong location. only i didn't know it yet. until i picked-up -- picked up
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the paper and discovered pfizer pharmaceutical was coming to down and one of the things pfizer did not want, according to the pfizer executive who just happened to be husband of claire was to look out and see tenement buildings. maybe we didn't live in grand manors that the pfizer executives were in but our houses were well cared for and we paid our taxes and it was a neighborhood that was comfortable for us. we weren't going to be comfortable for too long. we fought the media and we fought in the city council and the legislative offices. we fought in the courts. we won the support of the public but the politicians made our lives hell. eviction notices were posted on
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our tors thanksgiving eves. our neighbors' houses were temollished and our streets were shut down, some of us became ill and some of us even died. even the air was difficult to breathe from the demolitions and the blasting around us. but we never gave up because we believed this land was our land until the united states supreme court told us and the world differently. what the supreme court basically said our land was only our land until someone could make better use and pay taxes even though we lost our personal battle, the war was being fought because of the supreme court unbelievable ruling the majority of states offering more protection to
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american property owners. probably everyone who has ever given a speech hopes that something he or she says will be worth remembering. and i hope you remember this. if identity true that it takes an entire village to raise a child, then we and our children are in serious trouble. although 42 states have passed laws providing more protection against the use of eminent domain there are still many places where neighborhoods are destroyed to make way for malls, hotels and spas. and the people who suffer the most are not only the american children but also our elderly. chief joseph of the nez perce indians said the white manmade us many promises but he kept only one. he said he'd take our land and he did. this still continues. let us be the generation to bring this terrible abuse to an end. thank you. [applause]
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>> well, thank you very much, susette. we're now going to hear from the attorney who argued the case before the supreme court, scott bullock. he is a senior attorney with the institute for justice where he has served since 1991. he was co-counsel with dana berliner on the case and the two of them also argued the first case to address eminent domain after kelo was handed down. the first state case before the supreme court of ohio where they achieved a resounding victory. in 2002, scott was awarded the top civil rights prize by the state chapter of the southern christian leadership conference for his work to save the land of property owners in canton, mississippi.
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scott's work has appeared in numerous publications, the "new york times," "the wall street journal," 60 minutes, appeared on abc's nightly news and on public radio and elsewhere. he received his law degree from the university of pittsburgh and before that was an economics and philosophy major at grove city college. please welcome scott bullock. [applause] >> thank you, roger. it's always a great pleasure to be back again at the cato institute and i thank all of you for coming out on such a miserable day here in washington, d.c. it's always wonderful to see susette and appear with you once again and congratulations, jeff on a wonderful and engrossing book. you know, one of the things that people always ask myself and my colleagues at the institute for justice is how do you find your
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cases and how do you pick the cases -- which case you're going to take on when thousands of people approach you when they hear you mean i don't have to pay my lawyer? ..
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ordinary americans who never asked for this fight who were happy leaving their lives, but set up for the on the rights coming answer the call and in so doing protected the rights of all americans background it is people like susette that really embody the promises of the constitution and give of those protections like -- life of vitality. one of the things that's often overlooked in eminent domain cases is the fear that people have of when confronted with a loss of their home for the loss of their livelihood. because eminent domain, apart from perhaps putting you in jail or killing you, is about the most serious thing a government can do to its citizens. and people like susette interim in this struggle, but faced this fear of having to deal with everything else that life arose
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of someone. trouble with one's job, mayor of the stress of an aging relatives, sickness, and so on. it is pretty frankly incredible as this book points out what's his chest and her neighbors had to endure while seeking vindication of their rights. it has been a joy of my career, the joy of my colleagues career hat at the institute to represent people like susette -- susette kelo. the second thing that every public interest case needs in addition to having great plaintiffs win with our evil villains with. [laughter] in terrible abuses of power annual survey by a fat in this saga as well. and i think there are a couple of lessons to be learned here better growth one is jeff of allude to his remarks is that folks can abuse rights. even while they genuinely believe that they are pursuing
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some a greater social dead. of, indeed, some of the worst violations of human rights history occurred in the pursuit of a supposedly more important public goals propellant and what the folks i think on the other side forgot throughout this struggle is that under our system of law we do not and should not have and ends justifies the means approach. and i think that is the approach that the tech. much of the bill of rights is directed toward this notion. yes, the cops have to chase after a catch the criminals but they can't do that at any expense, and i have to follow certain rules, certain guidelines. yes, that of the men and contemplates the use of eminent domain, but those takings have to be for public use and just compensation must be paid in those principles were forgotten in this battle.
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i think it's also an important to point out that terrible abuses of power can occur even though the government can follow the so-called letter of a long. that they can jump through the necessary procedural hurdles, that they can satisfy each and every statutory requirement and still never the less engaged in gross abuses of power. to give just one example of what happened in it fort trumbull and this is really brought out in the book i think one of the most russians the government did in fort trumbull is that while this battle was being waged, they insisted on tearing down all the homes in the neighborhood. now they have the the legal right to do this, they owned the property once they were able to attain them voluntarily after pressuring folks but their real goal of this in addition to destroying the tax base at the
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time which now also is you are left with a very feel now of their even three years after this fight, but the message that was sent i think at this point was that this is a great accompli. that your house is next and that there is really no point in it engaging in this battle. and this demolition lead to some of the most heart wrenching parts of this book and lead to some of their early legal skirmishes we had with the city of new london as well when they would not even allow homes that were being contested in the eminent domain fight to remain standing walt the court case was going on until we have an explicit court order to prevent them from demolishing homes. finally in addition to having a
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great clients and having evil villains and terrible abuses of power, the last thing me always look for in our cases is a cutting inch legal issue, that is a public interest law terms exist. i'm not going to get into a long discussion of the legal issues that were its stake in the fort trumbull case and have been happy to answer any questions about that during the q and a, and am also not going to spend the remainder of my time to convince you that eminent domain for private development is not only unconstitutional but just flat out wrong. no one time somebody asked louis on sean when his, what jazz was and he said, man, if you have asked you will never know. and i sort of feel the same way when somebody asks me what is wrong with the government taking the mrs. kelo's home to give to private development?
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what's wrong with taking some small-business to put up high in condominiums? if you have asked, you may never, in fact, a understand what is wrong with it. what i want to talk briefly in the remaining amount of time that i have as to why we got involved with the new london case in to talk a little bit more about what has happened in the wake of the case as well which i think is in any way the more important with story. the institute for justice got involved in the eminent domain issue back in the mid-1990s and at that time this issue is really considered to be a dead letter in the long. as you mentioned, he didn't even some in law school. i think we spent about 50 minutes on it in law school. of consider this two really be a lost battle. the taking one difficult cases and trying to change the climate
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of public opinion in what is what public interest law is all about. so we started this campaign. my colleague was instrumental in doing this, john kramer, a matter of public relations with, provided division for doing this and we selectively took on cases target and that we thought would make great test cases and may try to grant to raise awareness of this issue throughout the country. and river starting to gain traction into himself and, of course, nothing put this issue were on the map than the supreme court excepting patrick and other reasons why we selected the new london case is because the city of new london was in a generous breathtaking expansion of eminent domain power rational. and city of new london, of course, was not using eminent
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domain, there were not rely on the light laws, urban renewal laws which allows governments to take property in so-called blighted neighborhoods and this power was upheld by the supreme court back in the 1950's and his years of other cases following that decision. of the city of new london was and that we can take these properties not for a traditional public use and not because there blighted but because the new owners of the property and put them to more productive use. making generate more tax revenues, create more jobs, they can improve the general and economic climate of our community and that is enough to justify the use of eminent domain and realize that that justification is upheld and that
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there really are no limits on eminent domain power. because every home would produce one tax revenue is driven mcjobs if it were in business. every smaller business would produce more in tax revenue and jobs if it were a larger business and so it is really a vision of eminent domain without limitation whatsoever of it's important to remember that all of that government has to do this project with the job growth and the tax revenue is going to be and that is what new london did here, their projected over a million dollars and more tax revenue a year, the creation of i think it was 600 to 1200 more jobs and did any of those come to pass? absolutely not. as chairman shin bet new london -- fort trumbull piven after investment of $80 million in state money is a barren field. no new construction whatsoever. stay with but nearly project and
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the job growth is enough of a the supreme court ruling to have this declared in public use on your miller amendment. we knew this have to be stopped swinton fa├žade hoping that the supreme court would provide a liaison and outer limits on the ability of governments to use eminent domain. and as we all know in a bitterly divided opinion this supreme court by a five to four vote said that there really are no meaningful limits on the use of eminent domain. of lease and development to the u.s. constitution. ansel although the kelo case ended up being a loss before the supreme court is essentially a classic example of of losing the battle but winning the overall work. for state supreme courts have rejected kelo while two others have essentially said it that they're going to reject kelo in the future or they are going to
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read their state constitution to provide a much more meaningful protection for property owners to face eminent domain for private vaughans, not one state supreme court has accepted cia a over three and half years since the decision was handed down. this is the exact opposite of what happens with eminent domain for urban renewal back in the 1950's were the supreme court upheld it and i think it was close to every other state supreme courts interpreted their own and state constitutions to adopt a very broad reading of eminent domain under the panel constitution. of 43 states have passed laws to limit eminent domain, essentially mean this like ironically a deficit of connecticut's law that was passed, but about half of them were very strong protection for private property owners not only with regard to economic development and also dealing
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with the abuse of applied laws which is another way of bad eminent domain is an abuse for private development purposes and virtually all of them at the very least private stronger protection for property owners then with a loss for the lead did. with the other thing that has happened on this issue is there has been a complete change in the overall climate is not only of public opinion by the attitudes of poverty owners, developers and government officials as well. property owners now feel like we have a fighting chance, they are in bold and by the public outrage and that in this bill then decision and they are fighting back against these projects throughout the country. or organization led by christina walsh is working with property lawyers from the country to
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fight the abuse of eminent domain and people rather than fewer and dejected by spain and italy feel like this often raised this issue and have a chance infighting these projects in in contrast city officials and developers in many areas are afraid to foreign the has they know that public opinion is against them purvis that stopped them in many areas? of course, not. there is too much power, money in the influence of the other side of this equation. into the battle that is certainly being fought in several states throughout the country. but one of the things that susette and her neighbors can take great part in is that their struggle was not in vain. the -- this before and never heard the gone but the slide that was waged there has given inspiration to countless thousands of others. if has led to the passage of
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laws and the handan of acquisitions with that word impossible frankly only a few years ago. and it all started with this little pink house thankfully still standing in another location it in new london and it all began with a woman in that house determine to seek justice and right city hall. thank you. [applause] >> thank you very much, scott. in his introductory remarks scott diluted to his start here at cato and had neglected to mention it in my introduction of him that he was my first intern. [laughter] back in 1989 when he had gone on to great things from that so kiddo interns who are listening, there is a future for youtube. [laughter] all right now we want to open
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this up to the ideas for your questions. please raise your hand, identify yourself in any affiliation may have come to a question is directed, in if you could keep it brief that would be good if as well and wait for the microphone to come. right beside you up there, this gentleman, right behind your. >> my name is charles. this question is in response to something mr. bullock said but open to anyone, you mentioned that it was morally wrong for the government to seize people's houses and i agree with you, but your explanation was simply if you didn't know why, maybe you'll never know and am wondering if there is perhaps an explanation for why it is morally wrong in the anyone has evolved offense for these peoples property practice. >> i think that is for you, scott. [laughter] in allyson, i don't think this is the proper place to try to
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justify a. will run an ethical standpoint and what my personal ethics it would lead to although i think it is safe to say that regardless of your philosophical leanings, regardless of your religious background, there has been no more universally despised supreme court decision that then the kelo case and that comes from people across the country, defroster graphic device, across racial lines, across was awful and political divide spirits it has really been extraordinary to see this and public poland definitely bears this out typically well over 80 percent oftentimes over 90% of folks are against this bill nah decision think that it was wrong and i did not only just for constitutional grounds but it was simply wrong with the government to do this and you
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don't see those numbers on any other supreme court decision that i'm aware of. if so i think the universality of the opposition to this demonstrates that regardless of their philosophical or moral back from you reach a conclusion that this is, in fact, the wrong name for governments to do in that if it's only a small exaggeration to say about the only people who are in favor of this are folks who stand to benefit from that. of city officials, developers, some folks in the planning community. far have to fear of the law professors and their as well who have debated throughout the country and a couple of editorial boards like the washington post and the new york times however, the new headquarters for the new york hands was built on land that was taken by eminent domain. so i would also have to put them into the category of folks who
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stand to benefit from eminent domain as well. >> i think you're asking and why it was legally wrong, were two? tomorrow, okay. this lady right here. >> my name is julia, i don't have an affiliation, my question is because i don't know too much about this as a backroom question -- if there is a redevelopment and receive going on everywhere all over the place, if there is a redevelopment activity going on that is not a morally and legally reprehensible as in this case, how is it different? what is a good redevelopment procedure? what happens normally one is not objectionable and that's my question for whoever knows. >> do you want to answer that price. >> are not an expert on that, i'm a journalist.
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and looked at other cases that this situations in love him that it interested me is that personal and it's not new to do urban renewal, there's a lot of old cities and old neighborhoods in america and some of them need to be reworked and there's plenty of places where government has done this very effectively without forcing people have their homes enough of an example what could have been done here and would have worked really did this neighborhood and some historic homes and that, they fit the average in the third and not on the water and bill to be on the water. this is a water and a moment. this plan of cities in america that have done waterfront redevelopment and built what if things around old things in it made the old news look new. by encorps for investment to develop a plan and that is absolute and that lincoln had happened that should happen here and, in fact, used as one against the developer of planned and wanted to redevelopment but wanted to be part of it.
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their architects both professional and amateur that looked at this and said this would be a terrific project if the city would interpret some of these old homes into the new plan. i can't get to person chapter but i know that from just doing simple research on this book that there are plenty of places baltimore is one of providence is another and bigger cities, there are other cities in new england that are waterfront that have done is collectively and it could have been done here. >> thank you, i am rosalynn lacing the plan, and a journalist and i want to thank you, susette. you have been inspiration to me. it's i am here today. i wanted to meet you. i am involved in that has not ended and i can tell you why it
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is morally wrong because i'm carrying on the depression and the only thing that is keeping this developer of bed because you can get financing to this rural community. fiske that is morally wrong. i shouldn't feel that way. on him to go bankrupt. [laughter] my question in right in line with dealers' my mantra at the microphone if the city of davis per has been built around for, not through. don't tread on us. we will work with you but don't destroy this bit of a wide price why can they fell from around friends why did they have to take that they've bought and then on our rapidly 6 acres in addition. they don't have enough blacks in this city doesn't want to build
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sidewalks and the infrastructure and they want to take our private sidewalks and that is with a win this bid is about. of they want our private sidewalks. it is easier to bully us and we offer a percent south east asian unity, we are a minority, and many of them have a language barriers. i was no one was speaking for them and learn to be very denticulate and i am in paralegals allow pin my professors thomas vicodin of university of maryland. i will fight until he love vs. new london is overturned in the supreme court level. he meant them to appear, at a jet touched on the reason that is behind it you're up against. they can't go around, mainly that they are inmates who think they know better than new and it wants the mock their teeth on to
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a plan is like a dog walking his teeth on to the bone and it's a matter of private. the worst sense of pride. they will not let go. and the little people must fall. >> roger, i was with clan that yesterday during an interview on the radio and he broadcast from a rockefeller and it won an interview and then he proceeded to talk about how rockefeller acquire that land and build that barry and his landmark in it was funny because he said all with all of rustlers money and power in all inventions he had, there were two people that refused to sell and move when they wanted to do the building. one was an irishman who had a public on one-sided and the little guy and on the other side and it wasn't enough money, they held out to get more, they just didn't want to go. they're still there. >> that's right to have those guys are still there to amend the bills around them. this lady right here.
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>> that afternoon. my name is for shall form with new enterprises, i am a journalist, a writer in firm owner. my question, one has to do with a eminent domain four attorneys but quickly and quote i wanted to find out, miss kelo, what was the name of the indian chief that you quoted? one. >> i had it right here to have a to said that. >> chief joseph of the nez per say indians. >> and the other question is for both of attorneys in addition to this eminent domain issue for homeowners, have either of you have to represent those who lost their homes in the last couple of years to two the loan fiasco with? with leaming in all of that, have had to do with both issues
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franks malveaux first. i don't represent anybody. >> we are a constitutional law shop so we represent folks who have battles with the government directly with the government purpose of that is even though we have a number of other cases besides be one of of those cases are when the government is acting against individuals individual citizens. >> jeff, your comments -- bill ericsson and i am with kagen institute -- your comments about how easily it would have been to a son of this note -- malt committed taken why did pfizer midsession opportunity for a puerto rico homeland in corporate america that is
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suffering from public president lyndon they had very little expense because of the land involved could have resolved this committed themselves and with such publicity that the case that they would have just been a wonderful corporate member of america? >> i did that is actually a great question and i can't necessarily give a definitive issa on that but i can tell you this, that the decision to move from this was such a huge decision for visor and it was made by one man. with the rest of the company's at that division, they did not want to go to new london and i didn't know there were going until they woke up and basically the exact quote was from the president to the guys on the listed acquisition team was can you guys looking to this. looking to new london and i thought are you kidding me? pretty soon they realized the chief executive really wants to go there and nobody resisted
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open. they just crumble about in manila was filing clear they said i guess this will be okay because i got the land for nothing, the state clean up, we get water from property and is calling to get clean and be okay and it was working from their perspective until the institute for justice arrive because of these guys were doing what they were doing they were like gnats. just flip them off and get them out of a lie. and when the loss to arrive at a that is when pfizer realized adviser wasn't sued but they realize we have a problem social and she became distance purposes isn't our right, we are not a litigant, we didn't use eminent domain, this is not our land, that's the city's business. their phrase was we are interested bystanders. that is the language the director of public communications called himself interested bystanders. i think their position became as much distance as possible because this is a nightmare
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publicity wise. nobody figured out of the and and i thought as the lawsuit was dragging on that they could have come in and get exactly what he said but i think that plank the decisions are being made in new york, not in new london and the york saying was stay and million miles away from that. to men they didn't have to think much about public relations because they were about to introduce viagra and everything was looking up. >> george mason university, questioned how rarely were jeff benedict, last i heard from the aftermath of kelo of its decision with, they have been all sorts of cost overruns and delays on the building in a thing and that court run jameson the development was hired to build staff have been given a last supposedly opportunity to
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do something in the contract and i was wondering if you happened, the day that the line or have a they have been off the contract and put somebody else on it and if there is any kind of plan to do anything on the wan? >> the developer to build to meet the deadline and the deadline was extended more than once in each time a bill to mean it and finally after i think three times the new london corporation said enough is enough and that was partly because they regain public pressure and it was embarrassing. but right now they don't have a developer and i'm not kidding, when i went up there and said this is all there, there is nothing there and the shame of this this there could have been a lot there. the city is in trouble right now because none of those acres are generating any tax revenue. so let's to save the sake of argument that their houses were blighted by police never paid
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taxes. why is now there is nothing there and i would never say never but i think it's fine to be a long time before anybody builds there because the area has a scarlet letter. i think it is just not attractive, lenders are consent if they put money into projects it will be down there will be launched into this thing so i think the city is in big trouble and it will be a long time before you see anything in the pilot to make a prediction i will bet what you ultimately see their sunday is housing. [laughter] >> that came from a george mason university law school who has written some excellent work on this case and on eminent domain generally and in a piece for the cato institute on that subject. but the follow-up on this? we still have her but has become of the little pink house. >> susette is too modest. she held onto it and that is one
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of the things she insisted upon in the negotiations which scott was involved and, but it was saved and it was moved. interestingly enough a gentleman who had owned a house two times before susette will volunteer to give some property over that he alone from his restored over 30 historic properties in new london, and he gave some landed that the house could be moved to appear in the house was taken apart board by board and driven across town. reconstructed any added a little on to it, some stonework in the basement and other things that weren't there, but for those who saw the house before and were pretty happy with the way it came out. it is a landmark of you can see it, it has a historical marker on at and we were just in it recently. it looks beautiful, it is terrific. i think it is a nice thing monmouth to the facts that we want.
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>> i bought a house in connecticut, it was in this piece for a neighborhood, i went directly across the river. it is where the revolutionary war was fought between the fort trumbull neighborhoods with the bridge that on the other side the river at the other report. >> unsurprisingly every one of the ups before home owners have moved out of the the city of new london since this battle took place. in the may not be coming back anytime soon and that is a real shame because these are folks that were dedicated to their community, who really did want to sit there. they insisted on them leaving in communities surrounding new london are a fortunate to have the citizens like susette in the other people up there living in their committees have. >> next question right down here.
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>> peter witney come into university, has the head at president of connecticut university ever express remorse for what she did? hinn at altima falun. bois. >> i will take back on. i will answer this is just purely as a writer because this was fascinating to me to interview player. at issue is everything as interesting as suzanna and the reason we put the book together the way i did with these there are two lead characters in the story is because she has not. so we she really has not. i think she sees herself as this because the truth of the matter is she loses her presidency at connecticut college over this. there is a revolt on campus over 70 percent of the pack of these i petition here and is circulated publicly in is the beginning of the end of her tenure as the president and having many people predicted
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that she was on a path to becoming president of a school like gail or harvard issue certainly had with this marks and at the pedigree to do it, but this case, this case have a lot to do with why her career at connecticut college, part paragon to this day i think she thinks that she tried to do the right thing. scott said these neighbors did not ask to do this but the practice is clear did not ask to become the president of the new london is developing corporation have issue is reported by the governor's office and i asked her because they referred to her privately as a vehicle purchase of the governor's office saw her as a vehicle and an issue with someone that they use to drive this planet in the city. i'd suggest she is a victim but i'm trying to use some contexts or why she thinks the way she does and the wish to operate in it that she did. i think it is very illumined to
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understand the part of this are because you have to realize why someone in that position pushes hard and she didn't get up in public forums and tried to tell someone like susette that you need. >> out of the way in -- to the greater good here. juan sirleaf thought she was and still does. with. >> there is an element to have brought out yet and that is the politics of a. of the republican governor, the democrats in new london. use say a little about that? >> i am a connecticut boy here, born and raised and i even ran for office in connecticut so the political part of the story intriguing and that's one of the reason it's as strong in the book but there's no city that votes for democratic in connecticut than new london. if you are a republican you might as well not run. is that dominated by democrats in the local government reflects that in devon and loan had been, it was immensely popular in it
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connecticut and he is not supposed to be. this is a blue state and he was on track to maybe get a cabinet position and the one thing he really wanted was to show that he could do it in new london and there is a little bit of that pride factor. trying to shoehorn this plan through and all the democrats, the local guys beating me up for the last word years, we are not going to drive over them, we're just going to go around them and instead of using the local apparatus that is there we are going to get our own development corporation and tell them what to do and they will do it. and that is the way if you're looking for the seeds of problems, the seeds are sown along they weren't susette picked up the paper and read that pfizer was coming, the year fort trumbull the institute of justice. the seeds are sown in the very beginning when the people were
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sitting in. out how do we get around local government. that's how it started. will. >> author you have mentioned it -- charles rice, for a free lancer in washington this is one of the panel generally. has been mentioned in the wake of kelo about 43 states enacted stronger protections for private property against eminent domain and was also mentioned that only about half of those who are really affected protections or as strong as they ought to be. where are the best places to live if you don't want yourself taking away? [laughter] >> to look on our website. we have a state-by-state breakdown as to which states states have passed mediocre reforms and that no reform and
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it's interesting though to see the dynamic even in a state like new jersey which has troubled eminent domain problems, one of the worst abusers of eminent domain. the state legislature and despite the introduction of numerous bills has done absolutely nothing and which you have seen there is the state courts have stepped up and they have started providing greater protections and recognizing greater protections for property owners for will have seen the revolution in the port where property owners and given in writing chance after years of words of neglecting this area rubber stamping whatever the government's wanted to do appear to the interesting dynamic, of course, in a lot of these battles as the back if you look at the polling on this you think the numbers would be overwhelming and the numbers are the overwhelming so that these things while very easily and
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there wouldn't be any problem. there has been a huge problem especially in states where the power is an abuse to a large extent because of the power of the loaves on the other side. these are people who noticing the legislators, what law calls of the state capitals and in the half on a very tenaciously and in places like new jersey very attractively to kill any attempt reform and even in states where this has been passed there has been a real battle of between homeowners and small business owners and the other side trying to get that legislative with the accomplishments past and. >> week >> this afternoon, my name is todd whitman's, i read about urban planning in d.c. and that
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often put blogs al-awja blogs on various sites including youtube. i have a couple of quick questions. i wanted to find out, first of all, a side that has anyone here seen the classic one brothers cartoon where bugs bunny and represents with that little guy who has his rabbit hole in certain places and i want to come through and build a highway in he ends up putting out, has that ever been used as an example to overcome big brother? and the second question which is not necessarily related to mrs. kelo but i've got to thank mrs. kelo for making that presentation because that was very heartwarming, i think. as the rosa parks of casey planning in a sense that presentation. i wanted to ask mr. bullock, are you familiar with what the the burden of homeland security is about to do in washington d.c.
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in it that they are about to consolidate one to the sage user or saint elizabeths area which was considered to be neglected as in the anacostia, it's an historic site, the national preservation people of one, national council for preservation and believe has cited an historic area and there are concerned that there might be some of that on those buildings and homeland security moves there. the have as many as 14,000 people they're talking about bringing to have to build a new high with structure and so on. to think that that are you have any opinion on whether that is the red thing to do been there's obviously been little resistance in anacostia to that consolidation movement? >> i made a note to myself to size bugs bunny in the future court cases that were involved in. [laughter] but with regard to the hamas
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introduce situation and not aware, i've heard of them to enact, i'm not aware of talking about using eminent domain to take any of the properties. i think they might try to work at an agreement with saint elizabeth's. of course, it was a public facility that would be a traditional use of eminent domain with the government would actually own and operate a government facility there so the constitution does contemplate that type of use the one of the things that is important to mention is something that hopefully will again be the violence in the law is that there is a doctrine in takings law that says that even if it is a republic use like a rome public facility that the takings have to be necessary, the governments cannot take any more land than is necessary to accomplish the public purpose or public use. and and that's why the public use provision of the hesitation of portion of the of the past 40 years has been watered down, has
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been given much of fact but there has been at least seven court cases recently that have looked at revitalizing that doctrine. in making the government prove that the takings are actually necessary even in the accomplishment of a so-called traditional public use. i like to see that doctrine restored, some governments to respect it and try to work with property owners and go around property owners especially if it is residences or small businesses than if they refuse to do so a would be great to see courts take this doctrine were seriously, once again,. >> i think a city said that even in that traditional legitimate uses of the eminent domain or in public use it still is problematic because what you've got is what was called in the 17th and 18th centuries a despotic power because if your horse and that person to give up his or her property where a road
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to school or work or the case may be and you are doing it because it is for a public use and supposedly pay just compensation but rarely does the owner ever get just compensation the measure today bwana is a market value which a person is not the true value because if it were the person would sell willingly. but i the person isn't selling tells you that is worth more to him than it is to give it up for that valued. mw as problematic when you go from there to the cases where you are not transferring for public use, but for a mere public benefits which, of course, anything can satisfy a public benefit then you are getting beyond just the despotic power, you are getting over to a draconian use of eminent domain which is really illegitimate under proper reading of the takings clause which the court has not given the.
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of let's take one or two more questions. this lady right here. >> fourth >> we i'm plus meyers of becoming a consultant. i am interested in the amazing public response to the kelo decision and wondered whether it has even surprise you, if you talked a little bit more about the communications strategy is that you planned before the decision. you are certainly ready amazingly to talk to the press and to get, how much of that was spontaneous, how much was the result of the plating racks. >> the communication strategy should be discussed by john kraemer who is the genius behind it, but he is not talking because -- [laughter] >> i always bigger kraemer.
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it is something that was lead in by john and is something that so many of said the institute were a part of it in both the designing and implementing as well. and where were ready when regardless of what had happened. i thought it was fine to be a very narrow decision and probably going to be five to four. of course, i was hoping it would be the other way, but i thought probably would be that either way. and, of course, it was very discouraging in the court handed down their opinion. with but after being depressed or of about 30 seconds we knew we had to spring into action. no one of the things that my colleague mentions one of the first things that embolden us was looking at an instant poll i think on msnbc after an hour after the decision may down from
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the tens of thousands of people who had already responded and, of course, these things are not scientifically accurate but i think the pool at that point was about 90 percent against that kelo decision. and renewing the backlash like was going to be. down month and what we decided to do was that especially in reading justice o'connor's dissent long in in seeing how the issues and refrain that we put together immediately, we raise tyrannosaur the median, we also got involved a lot of legislative battles as well knowing there was a real opportunity after years of
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legislatures doing absolutely nothing to change to the long in this area. i am embarrassed to say it was a registered lobbyists and about a dozen states. i think my colleagues were also lobbyists registered in other states and took been a really thought of steps to try to counter at this and a decision. of but i should also mention it wasn't just us, ordinary citizens were emboldened by this. they rose up and demanded changes in their state legislature, they work with us and other groups to try to counter an this. but it is one of the things i was worried about in the kelo case is that this decision because it was so narrow that it would have gone the other way i was concerned that if we would have won and everybody would have thought the problem was solved. that peopled ago on in great, the popes in new london wan, but
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the decision because was so near would have been tied so closely to the attacks of the case that lawyers could have distinguished the case away as they always like to do. and he would not have had a public awareness in the public opposition about this case with so that was the fear of loss that we still have a lot of work to do regardless of the outcome that happened. >> could replace a two as a journalist said that was one of the questions that was bringing was exactly what to ask in one of the things that that the lawyers on the other side use four-letter words was the actions of the institute for justice and outside the courtroom. and i remember every time i interviewed them they said we do our business in the courtroom. and good lawyers to that. and we don't like all of this foolishness going on in the media and reporters kept cobb
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and the of the lawyers and i think it is one of the things that distinguishes the institute for justice is that they put a huge emphasis on public education. it is not just what we do in the courtroom scene by judges and if you have said there, but all the rest of us who don't necessarily have access to the courts or the braves at the time, they do this of this outrage and that was very important. you had a perfect storm in a case that resonated because it was like a kick in the that we hear the decision, you don't have to be a lawyer to understand there is something wrong. doesn't pass the smell test but it had stopped there and have every people, whose town offer a few days and life goes on, and the idea is that the lawsuit is over but rallied to public outrage of public education. you can't underestimate the value of having people who know how to do communications. i've not tried to pat people on
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the back but i spent some serious time on that in the book because i think it had a lot to do with why the campaign became what it was and why the states did what it did. visit to for justice had a bigger role and the people like susette who are willing to continue after it looked like the score. said there is no time left on the clock. the game is over and they said it we did not lose and that is why it is prejudiced today. will. >> [inaudible] tourette's scott admitted, you have the potential. [laughter] >> you did. absolutely pure document listen, we're going to beg for lunch --. first of all, i want to make sure that you understand, the book is for sale, but at a discount if you have assigned by the author and by susette
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herself. the publishers weekly blur but i think says that of. passionate, a page turner with conscious, it will leave readers indignant an inspired. thank you very much and, please, thank the speakers here today. [applause] for more information about author jeff benedict and his work go to jeff redwood linda manning and other northern illinois university press, what are some of the titles, this year from your press? >> we have starting of the left over here what i can out is a battery until we marchant have a u.s. the founder of more installed and the morton arboretum which is a wild, illinois.
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the biography has ever been written on him before. >> why is it important to write a biography of him fax. >> he was very much ahead of his time, he is a philanthropist and an early and relentless, he believed in saving the land iran chicago and building this arboretum that exist today and is very nice to have open if a city like that. >> is morton salt still in chicago? >> is still is to read what else? >> we have a poster of william dawson in the black electoral leadership from and he was a congressman from chicago and he was very popular during the civil rights era. he was one of the purse black americans to be a congressman, he was in a cabinet and he did a lot of first reason that era your giving us about that book. there's never been a biography of him so people are looking for a two reading about this. >> who is tried it meant? >> he is an historian and he wrote this book about the press
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and their views of the american revolution in how they saw the war, there's a lot of controversy in britain because their people who signed with both the patriots and the loyalists so it was a conflict of would they side with, their own people in britain and work there on previous people who are now colonists of the united states so he takes a look at how the press you the war ends in england's the common person can write to the newspapers, and write editorials and so even the common person had a voice about the revolution. >> being number illinois fewer in the midwest and you have written a book called industrializing at the corn belt or publishing a book to read it came out in december so it is available already, it focuses the case of the iowa which is in our region definitely ended loebsack, however cultural change in 1945 to 1972, the different mechanical introductions that their work, the antibiotics, the pesticides
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that came into being. >> finally another book about the 1960 presidential election. why? >> y? this is one of the first to look at the primaries and on the republican side of things to look at the three major candidates there and is able capri has a look and just leaving it up to the 1960 election. >> what kind of books do a poor and northern illinois? >> we to a lot of u.s. history, we are expanding a lot into early american because we are part of a new mellon grant awarded to three presses to georgette ny uns and the engine of early american studies and our basic level of this is on obviously been we will cover the midwestern states thought. >> linda manning of northern illinois, university press. >> this summer booktv is asking, what are you reading?
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>> as to the author of a new book about how congress really works and is, waxman report, i would hope you would read that book, is a nonfiction book intend to read nonfiction brandon then. shannon of the sometimes i escape to a novel here and there. but some of the books i am listening -- i listen to books rather than read them and i listened to atomics about the sequel to fiasco which was a fabulous book here and i just finished a book called the inheritance by david sanger about all of one policy profits this the administration is inheriting and looking for is a book by michael moore about the involvement of the united states in the middle east and i listen to his first book about the six-day war and a highly recommend that both. it told me things that even though i've lived through the time of the six-day war of israel and dance our neighbors, there are things that i just
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didn't really know had happened behind-the-scenes. that's what i thought that book was worth while and i think that is why my book is one that people ought to listen to or read unwed that you thank you know about it really don't know the level story of what the discussions were, when the controversy is an intrados to produce legislation. people usually hear about the scandals, they hit a bad thing in that mess of government, people have been poisoned for a long time since president reagan's government is the problem that the solution it, thinking government can do nothing right to buy government can do and must do things that affect positively millions of americans and i tried to show how bills that i of foreign law, many of them are very controversial were so successful and i believe that the kinds of
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changes that we are working on in congress either the guidance and leadership of president obama to reform our energy into deal with health care coming to make it affordable to all americans, to hold down the costs so that we can balance our budgets because the biggest cost we have in health care under medicare and medicaid we've got to band that cost per runway so we can hold down the deficit and make sure that we have a more rational system of government can be a force for good, government has been a force for good. i tried to point out how congress off and does the right thing that you don't hear about, oh is hearing about the negative side of things. ..


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