Along with four other reports on eminent domain, the Institute for Justice and the Castle Coalition released a report this week on the effects of Kelo v City of New London (2005) called “Opening the Floodgates.” The Institute for Justice represented the plaintiffs before the Supreme Court and the Castle Coalition is an activist group opposing government claims of eminent domain. All five reports are available here.
As suggested by the title of the lead report, it concludes that Kelo has generated significant growth in eminent domain activity. The report gathers up examples of this activity from assorted public documents and media sources, claiming that “in just the past year, more than 5,700 properties nationwide have been threatened by or taken with eminent domain for private development -- a figure that compares with more than 10,000 examples over a five-year period preceding the Kelo argument[.]”
In glancing at the footnotes, it appears that media sources dominate, but it is not clear to me where the pre-Kelo numbers come from in the reference to the five years before the decision. If both the pre- and post-Kelo numbers are based on media reports, an important methodological question is whether the finding of increased activity is the result of increased media interest in eminent domain since Kelo, rather than an actual increase in activity.