The woman behind one of the most famous and controversial decisions out of the U.S. Supreme Court in decades will visit Widener Law’s Delaware campus for a two-hour program on eminent domain Friday, March 27.
Susette Kelo will be joined at Widener by investigative journalist Jeff Benedict, author of the book “Little Pink House: A True Story of Defiance and Courage” for a discussion on how the plight of a working-class neighborhood became the focus of a national debate about property rights – and a landmark case in American jurisprudence.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Kelo v. New London that governments may use eminent domain to transfer private property to developers in the name of economic development. The 2005 decision sparked public outrage over the potential for government abuse of the power of eminent domain.
Benedict’s book was called “a fascinating narrative” in a New York Times review by Dahlia Lithwick just published Sunday, March 15. The review likened Kelo’s portrayal in the book as something of a Julia Roberts/Erin Brockovich character who underwent a “reluctant transformation from shy nursing student to national property rights hero.” The book focuses less on the court decision itself and more on Kelo, whose Victorian waterfront house in New London, Conn. came under threat by Pfizer Inc. and the New London Development Corp.’s plans to redevelop her neighborhood with condominiums, a luxury hotel and more.
The event will run from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Ruby R. Vale Moot Courtroom in the Main Law Building on the campus at 4601 Concord Pike, Wilmington. It is free and open to the public.
The program is presented by Delaware Citizens Against Eminent Domain Abuse.