By Steven Anderson
Make noise. That’s one of the main strategies advocated by the Castle Coalition to stop the abuse of eminent domain through activism. In keeping with that approach and in conjunction with our historic argument before the U.S. Supreme Court on February 22 in Kelo v. City of New London, we did just that.
In the days leading up to the argument, in more than 30 locations involving even more communities around the country, we organized rallies, vigils and other events that demonstrated not only the national scope of the eminent domain problem, but the nationwide reach of the Castle Coalition itself.
The reason was simple: Eminent domain abuse affects every community and the consequences of the case will affect every American property owner. Knowing that there would be an especially large amount of media coverage surrounding Kelo, arguably the biggest case of the Court’s current term, we sought to link the case with situations occurring in local communities around the country—and we were very successful.
With the help of local contacts, we organized citizen activists in a few short weeks to hold rallies in 15 states, literally from coast to coast and border to border. Importantly, homeowners and activists in states like New Jersey, Missouri and California, all of which are serial abusers of eminent domain, held several events between them—the St. Louis area alone had three. While some locations battled bad weather, activists still attended in droves, armed with Castle Coalition signs, stickers and banners, recognizing the unique opportunity to support our clients and highlight their own neighborhood battles. And their efforts were rewarded handsomely—the media attention was significant.
Despite its relative infancy, the success of these events stands as a testament to the Castle Coalition’s growth into one of the nation’s premier grassroots property rights organizations. Home and small business owners around the country that are faced with unconstitutional government land grabs contact the Castle Coalition daily for advice on stopping eminent domain abuse—and we expect the calls for help to increase as word of our national scope and our ability to produce results continues to spread.
Steven Anderson is the Castle Coalition coordinator.