Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date


Publication Information

131 Pol. Sci. Q. 885 (2016)


Ultimately, Somin’s single-minded dedication to a federal constitutional ban on economic development taking prevents the book from offering a full and fair consideration of alternative responses to eminent domain abuse. His survey of the various state legislative reforms enacted as a result of homeowner backlash to Kelo quite rightly points out the shortcomings of populist challenges to sophisticated vested interests. But his blatant aversion to engage with the substantial problems that public purpose land assembly faces without resort to eminent domain closes off any fair comparison of proposals that rival his own, particularly the position of fellow libertarian and ardent Kelo critic, Richard Epstein. Even so, the failure of Somin’s ambitious argument does not prevent the book from being an informative, engaging, and timely contribution to this fascinating and chronically misunderstood subject.



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