Professors Somin and Eagle File Supreme Court Amicus Brief in Key Property Rights Case

Professors Somin and Eagle File Supreme Court Amicus Brief in Key Property Rights Case

Today Mason Law Professors Ilya Somin and Steven Eagle joined with six other law professors from across the country to submit an amicus brief to the Supreme Court of the United States in Didden v. Village of Port Chester. The brief was written by Professor Somin and argues that the Court should hear this key property rights case brought by New York property owners Bart Didden and Domenick Bologna in the wake of last year's controversial Kelo ruling. The subject property in the case was condemned after Didden and Bologna refused to pay a private developer the $800,000 he demanded to avoid condemnation.

The plaintiffs' original lawsuit, filed in federal court, argues that the Village of Port Chester's attempt to take their property through eminent domain is a violation of the Fifth Amendment, which only allows takings for "public use." The case was thrown out by the trial court, and on appeal the Second Circuit agreed with the trial court's ruling. The court's findings were predicated on the fact that the plaintiffs' property was located within a redevelopment area, a zone the village had designated as subject to its power of eminent domain, so the Constitution did not protect it from the condemnation.

The professors' amicus brief reasons that the Supreme Court should grant certiorari in Didden v. Village of Port Chester to address whether Kelo permits pretextual takings in any situation where the condemnation occurs in a redevelopment area. They also argue that pretextual takings intended to benefit private parties should not receive deference from the judiciary.

Read the amicus brief