Castle Coalition Holds Fourth Annual Eminent Domain Conference
By Steven Anderson
Activists from around the country met in Washington, D.C. during the second weekend in July for the Castle Coalition’s 4th Annual Eminent Domain Conference. This year’s gathering had particular significance after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Kelo v. City of New London, which put everyone’s property up for grabs, and inspired the Castle Coalition’s recently launched Hands Off My Home campaign.
Held this year in the shadow of the Capitol, dozens of activists attended sessions led by Institute for Justice staff on a number of topics, including the history of eminent domain, preparing for litigation, and working with the media. Janice Hundt, an activist from Baltimore County, Md., who fought the abuse of eminent domain in her hometown, delighted the audience with her tale of triumphant grassroots action.
A highlight of the conference was the presentation of our David award to Susette Kelo, for her inspiring fight against twin Goliaths: tax-hungry governments and land-hungry developers.
Attendees were also treated to what has become a staple of the conference each year: a screening of the Australian comedy The Castle, which served to lighten the mood after an intensive day of education.
This year’s conference was the most successful yet, as we trained another crop of activists in the techniques necessary to end the abuse of eminent domain. Given the amount of abuse, we’ll need all the help we can get!
Steven Anderson is IJ’s Castle Coalition Coordinator