By Isaac Reese
Immediately after the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Kelo v. City of New London, IJ’s CastleCoalition.org became the resource in the fight against eminent domain abuse. Given the incredible demand from reporters, homeowners, students, scholars and legislators, we undertook a redesign of the site to make it more user-friendly and informative. In addition to expanding the existing content, we’ve added these new features:
Maps and State Pages
“10,000 abuses of eminent domain,” has been the Castle Coalition’s rallying cry since Dana Berliner’s 2003 report, Public Power, Private Gain, exposed how frequently state and local governments wrench homes and businesses from their owners for the benefit of private parties. We have taken the research in this report and merged it with Google maps to graphically convey the enormity of current and past abuses across the nation. (See maps.CastleCoalition.org.) Zoom to your state and you will get a feel for the current legal climate for forced private-to-private property transfers. Our list of current proposed bills will let you know how your state legislature is reacting to the Kelo crisis. Additionally, each point on the map is interactive—click it and the story of that project will pop up above.
Legislator Contact Tools
The adage, “all politics is local,” could not be more true in the wake of Kelo. Almost as soon as the U.S. Supreme Court rendered the public use clause meaningless, state and local governments reacted to the public’s outrage by proposing bills to protect their constituents’ property rights. CastleCoalition.org’s “Legislative Reform” section makes it easier for homeowners and activists to petition their elected representatives for real reform.
CastleWatch, the Castle Coalition’s new online publication, educates and informs homeowners and activists around the country about the latest eminent domain news. Stories range from profiles of those who have saved what is rightfully theirs to real-world stories of abuse. CastleWatch exposes the myths of eminent domain apologists and showcases photos of the “blighted” home or business of the week.Isaac Reese is IJ’s production and design coordinator.