In dissenting from the US Supreme Court’s 2005 Kelo decision upholding the use of eminent domain for private-to-private transfers of property, Justices O’Connor and Thomas asserted, based on the history of urban renewal, that eminent domain for private development would disproportionately hurt poor and minority communities. This study uses US census data and a sample of redevelopment project areas using or identified for the use of eminent domain to test the assertions of Justices O’Connor and Thomas. Results reveal that such project areas are, in fact, disproportionately populated by those who are poor, minority and less educated.
Suggested citation: Carpenter, D. M., & Ross, J. (2009). Testing O’Connor and Thomas: Does eminent domain target poor and minority communities? Urban Studies, 46(11), 2447–2461.