Heightened Coverage Led Way to High Court

December 1, 2004

December 2004

Heightened Coverage Led Way to High Court

By John E. Kramer

How the U.S. Supreme Court selects its cases remains a mystery to all those outside that inner sanctum, but certain criteria help elevate a few select cases for consideration over others that are rejected. Among these are a split in authority—where state supreme courts or federal appeals courts have ruled differently on the same issue—and, most fundamentally of all, the issue must pose an “important federal question.”

Complementing IJ’s excellent legal work to stop the abuse of eminent domian, the news coverage generated in national news outlets like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post raised public awareness of the scope and importance of eminent domain abuse. Prominent among the coverage were George F. Will’s nationally syndicated column, “Despotism in New London,” The Wall Street Journal’s editorial “Poletown’s Revenge,” and Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby’s piece, “Abusing Eminent Domain.” National Public Radio also took the time to listen to the New London homeowners and tell their story.

IJ seized upon every “news hook” available to tell our clients’ stories time and again—from the appeal of the Connecticut Supreme Court decision sanctioning eminent domain for economic development, to the Michigan Supreme Court’s overturning of the notorious Poletown decision, to coverage leading up to the Court’s consideration of the Institute for Justice’s petition. The Institute pulled out all the stops to personalize, humanize and dramatize the story of this abuse of government power and the homeowners who want nothing more than to be left alone to enjoy the homes that are rightfully theirs.

John E. Kramer is IJ’s vice president for communications.

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