House Moves to Overturn Kelo v. New London

On February 26, 2014, the U.S. House of Representatives voted (353-65) to approve the Private Property Rights Protection Act (H.R. 1944). The bill, if approved by the Senate and President Obama, would prohibit any government from using eminent domain for the purpose of economic redevelopment. The bill is a direct (if delayed) response to the Supreme Court’s decision in Kelo v. New London, which I discussed at some length here. The popular politics blog, “The Hill” notes that 43 states have already adopted some measures to reduce Kelo’s impact. Unfortunately, many of these reforms have been ineffective at meaningfully reducing the possibility that eminent domain can be abused (a good place to start exploring the effectiveness of post-Kelo reforms is at the Castle Coalition). Thus, if the Private Property Rights Protection Act becomes law, it would substantially alter the constitutional landscape of takings law.

At present, the interesting question is whether the Senate will consider the bill. In the meantime, I would refer interested readers to this relevant post at The Hill. The official summary of the bill is available at

Update on Greenhouse Gas Permitting Case

A few weeks back I wrote about Utility Air Regulatory Group v. U.S. EPA, which was heard by the Supreme Court this morning. ReutersUSA Today, Business Week and other press outlets are reporting that today’s oral arguments suggest the Court is skeptical of the government’s claims in the case. Since I have not yet read the transcripts, I will refrain from commenting beyond pointing you to some of this press.

Ahead of the oral arguments, NPR did a nice story this morning that you can listen to here.

Editor’s Note: Per the earlier version of this post, the audio for the oral arguments in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA are up on Oyez.